Home & Leisure

Classic piccata sauce is perfect match for salmon

Staf, America's Test Kitchen on

Piccata sauce is a simple, yet punchy mix of lemon, capers, white wine and butter. It’s tangy and takes your salmon dish in an exciting new direction.

Quick tips

1. Buy a whole center-cut piece of salmon and cut it into individual portions to ensure that each fillet is a similar size to cook at the same rate.

2. Use skinless salmon fillets. More on this later.

3. Pat the fillets dry and sear them in oil in a preheated nonstick skillet to prevent them from sticking in the pan.

4. To keep the fish from breaking apart, cover the pan and let the steam gently cook the fish without flipping it. Note, this method means the fish only browns on one side. This is why you should use skinless salmon and then serve the fillets browned side up.

Serving suggestions

After cooking the fillets to 125 degrees (for medium-rare), let them rest on a platter to keep them juicy. While the salmon rests, start the piccata sauce.

Cook the sauce down before whisking in butter, one piece at a time, off heat to ensure a viscous pan sauce; then finish with a sprinkle of dill.

Salmon Piccata

Serves 4

Note: To ensure uniform pieces of fish, we prefer to purchase a whole center-cut salmon fillet and cut it into four equal pieces. For skinless salmon, we refer to the side opposite where the skin used to be, which is typically more pink in color and more rounded, as the flesh side.

1 (2-pound) center-cut skinless salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 inches thick

1 teaspoon table salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper, divided

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1. Cut salmon crosswise into 4 equal fillets. Pat salmon dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

2. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add salmon flesh side down. Cover and cook until browned on bottom and registering 125 degrees (for medium-rare), about 5 minutes, or 135 degrees (for medium), about 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer salmon, browned side up, to platter or individual plates.

3. Return skillet to medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 15 seconds. Whisk in wine, water, capers, lemon zest and juice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil and cook for 30 seconds.

4. Off heat, whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, until combined. Stir in dill. Spoon sauce over salmon. Serve.

(For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands — which includes Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and America’s Test Kitchen Kids — offers reliable recipes for cooks of all ages and skill levels. See more online at

©2023 America’s Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



Non Sequitur Chris Britt Cathy Daddy Daze Bart van Leeuwen Dustin