Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Flounder piccata is a quick, boldly flavored yet light dish that can also be made with any other thin fillets—sole, tilapia, pollock, haddock, skate or cod. So simple and so good.


Piccata is one of those recipes that’s really easy to throw together with ingredients that are usually on hand, although there’s no guarantee that the parsley in my refrigerator will still be perky and green. I always keep capers in the house so I can make a piccata sauce, sometimes with fish and sometimes with pounded fillets of chicken breast. I suppose I could make it with pounded boneless pork chops too but I usually make those Milanese-style.

Sometimes I add shallots and garlic to the recipe too. You could, of course, add more butter at the end if you’re feeling decadent. Parsley is the traditional herb for piccata but if you have some fresh dill hanging around, that might be good too.

Flounder Piccata recipe| Grabbing the Gusto

Flounder Piccata | Grabbing the Gusto

Another fun thing to do is to increase the sauce ingredients just a bit and use the surplus to top some spaghetti or angel hair on the side. And don’t forget the parmesan for your pasta.

I put a note in the recipe about the possible consequences of using an electric stove for this recipe. I’ve been cooking on electric since moving to North Carolina about six years ago, and I swear I’m still adjusting. My entire adult life I cooked on gas. Maybe our stove isn’t calibrated probably—it is pretty old—but I hate the way the burners come on hot and then turn off again. I find it nearly impossible to do anything that requires a subtle touch unless I am standing over the pan and moving it on and off the burner.

Considering how much joy cooking brings to my life, I should start dedicating some of my savings to a gas hook-up (or whatever it’s called). In this neighborhood, that means getting a propane tank and putting in a line to the kitchen. And buying a gas stove/oven that will fit into our small kitchen.

Gas money now has an entirely new meaning. You heard it here first: I’m going to do it. Advice accepted. The mountain house will have to wait.

Flounder fillets ready to slice in half for Flounder Piccata recipe | Grabbing the Gusto

Flounder fillets ready to slice in half for Flounder Piccata | Grabbing the Gusto

Flounder Piccata

You’ll need a large plate or shallow dish or bowl, large pan, paper towels, large lid (optional) and a wooden spoon or spatula.

  • 1 pound flounder fillets (skin on or off) or other thin mild fish like sole, tilapia, pollock, haddock, skate or cod
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Optional: minced shallots and garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Pat fish fillets dry. Whisk together flour, salt and pepper on a large plate or in a shallow dish or bowl. Dredge both sides of the fillets in the flour until they’re lightly coated.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in the pan. When the oil is hot, cook the fillets in a single layer until golden-brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Do more than one batch if they don’t all fit in the pan at once, and add more oil to the pan, if necessary. Transfer the fillets to a paper towel-lined plate. Cover the plate with a lid or keep the fillets warm in a 200°F oven.

<If you’re using an electric stove, remove the pan from the burner occasionally if you think the oil is overheating. If, when you’re done frying the fish, you have black burnt bits in the oil, remove the oil and wipe the pan out with a paper towel before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.>

If you’re adding shallots and garlic to the recipe, add them to the pan after removing the fish. Add the shallots first and let them sauté on medium-low heat for a minute, then add the garlic, and cook one minute more. Turn up the heat to medium or medium-high before adding the wine.

Add the white wine to the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Let the wine boil for a minute or two, until reduced by about half, then add the lemon juice and capers. Boil another minute. Turn off the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan, swirling it until it melts. Then add the other tablespoon of butter.

Stir half of the parsley into the sauce and pour the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the fish with the remaining parsley and serve.

Original recipe: Sole Piccata, Simply Recipes

12 thoughts on “Flounder Piccata

  1. Ema Jones says:

    Fish is my all time fav! Perfect treat 🙂

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Then you will love this, Ema. Full of flavor and quickly made.

      1. Ema Jones says:

        Is that so? Then I’m trying it right away 🙂
        Your “chicken with kale and salsa verde” is a big HIT.

        1. deirdrereid says:

          Let me know how you like it and if you make any tweaks to the recipe that work out for you.

          1. Ema Jones says:

            I will definitely add some variation to the recipe.
            Will let ya know for sure. Can I use caramelized onions instead of shallots?Plz suggest…

            1. deirdrereid says:

              You could. Caramelized onions will be a lot more sweet and bold than shallots, so it won’t be the same, but that’s okay. If you don’t want to buy shallots (sometimes they’re pricey depending on the store), you could also use green onions (scallions) instead. Or soak chopped red onions in some water and then use those — the water will take away a bit of their pungency.

              1. Ema Jones says:

                I want to use caramelized onions because I like the sweet taste, no other reason dear 🙂
                Yeah, the recipe will be a bit on the sweeter side, which I think is the specialty of caramelized onions.

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