Quick and delicious, with a side of chips.

With a lemony tang, a buttery taste and a splash of caper saltiness, the piccata preperation complements light, white fish to a T.

By the time April rolls around, I’m ready to quit eating heavy cool-weather seafood like fried fish, shrimp and oysters and am interested in lighter fare. And what better way to impress your family and friends is there than the simple Italian-American dish of fish piccata? Traditionally, this dish is made with thinly sliced and pounded-flat veal, but any delicate fish like seatrout, flounder or sheepshead are perfect choices in your Sportsman’s Kitchen.

Yes, the fish in this recipe is fried, but I prefer using the word sautéed to clarify that it’s not battered and boiled in oil, but lightly crisped in just a small amount of butter and olive oil, using only a very light dusting of flour. Then, it’s served with a pan sauce of lemon juice, dry white wine and capers. If you’ve not yet tasted capers, this is the perfect recipe to learn about these small pickled berries from the Capparis spinosa bush native to rugged Mediterranean countries. They’re spicy and tangy, but not so much as to cover up the flavor of the fish.

Keep your meal on the light side with a side of crispy homemade potato chips and some light white or blush wine, remembering that springtime is the time to lighten up! FS

Piscine Piccata

2 fish fillets
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
Flour as needed for dusting
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1⁄4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. capers
Chopped parsley for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and dust lightly with the flour. Once the butter foams and begins to brown, add the fish fillets, turn the heat to high, and brown well, turning once, 4 to 5 minutes total.

Remove the fillets to a warm resting place, and add the wine to the pan. Scrape up the browned bits and add the lemon juice along with the capers. Reduce for half a minute, then add the last tablespoon of butter. Check for seasoning and acidity, then return the fillets to the sauce to warm. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Serves 2)

Homemade Potato Chips

There are a couple of tricks regarding the successful preparation of homemade potato chips. First, use a mandolin slicer or very sharp fillet knife to make very thin, even slices. Second, dry the chips thoroughly before frying in hot, 375 degree, canola or peanut oil. And finally, don’t overcrowd the pan—cook just a few slices at a time, drain them on paper towels, and season with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

First published Florida Sportsman April 2014

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