This restaurant-quality Salmon Piccata serves up crispy salmon fillets glazed with a tangy sauce made with lemon juice, wine, capers and butter.

Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

Once I have an open jar of something or the other in the fridge, I pride myself on using it up. I hate food waste! So an open tub of gochujang is an invitation to make Korean meatballs as often as possible.

Recently, it was an open jar of capers. I don’t even know why I originally bought them, I just knew I needed to use them up.

So, I made shrimp pasta with capers and creamy salmon pasta, too. But there were still more. Apparently I bought the largest jar of capers to ever exist.

Now, if you Google “how to use up a bunch of capers,” I’m guessing a lot of piccata recipes come up. Piccata sauce is a delicious combination of fresh lemon juice, butter and lots of capers.

Piccata is usually made with chicken or veal, but you know that I’m always making new salmon recipes. Like my pineapple salmon, this salmon piccata recipe is truly a restaurant-quality dish that is actually pretty easy to execute at home.

Fish with lemon caper sauce, served on a rustic plate with orzo and steamed broccoli.

What you’ll need for this salmon piccata recipe:

  • salmon fillets – more on this below!
  • flour – we’ll be lightly dredging the salmon in flour to make it nice and crispy.
  • butter – unsalted butter will thicken and add flavor to the sauce.
  • olive oil – we’ll also add a little olive oil for flavor.
  • garlic – I call for 4 minced garlic cloves below, but measure it with your heart.
  • chicken broth – this is the backbone of this piccata sauce.
  • white wine – this adds a bright, acidic note to the sauce. I use pinot grigio!
  • lemon juice – one of the star flavors of this dish! Make sure you are using juice from fresh lemons, not bottled juice. Buy a few extra lemons for a lemon smoothie tomorrow for breakfast.
  • lemon zest – this adds an extra punch of lemon to the salmon piccata sauce.
  • capers – you’ll need a full 1/4 cup. I buy the kind packed in brine, and drain and rinse them before using. You can also buy the salt-packed ones and rinse them really well, but I prefer the brine kind.
  • thyme – I think a fresh herb works really nicely in this dish, and thyme is my favorite.
  • salt and pepper – always!
  • parsley – I like to finish this dish with finely chopped fresh parsley for color, but this is optional.
Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

How to buy the best fish for this dish:

Just like with crab stuffed salmon and my salmon sandwich, I prefer thicker, center-cut pieces of salmon, and not thinner, tail-end pieces for salmon piccata.

The tail end pieces are really better for a recipe where the salmon is going to be flaked, like salmon alfredo or Cajun salmon pasta.

If you have a grocery store, butcher, or seafood market where you can specify that you need center-cut pieces, that’s ideal for this recipe.

You want skinless salmon for this recipe. If you happen to buy fillets with the skin on, just use your fingers and a sharp paring knife to carefully cut and peel the skin away from the fish before cooking.

You can use any variety of salmon you like best for this salmon piccata recipe, whether that’s Atlantic salmon, sockeye salmon, or something else. Food & Wine’s Guide to Every Type of Salmon You Can Buy will help you learn the differences.

Fish with lemon caper sauce, served on a rustic plate with orzo and steamed broccoli.

How to make salmon piccata:

Just like my honey mustard pork chops, this dish comes together in one pan! First, season the salmon with salt and pepper and then lightly dredge it in flour. Then, sear the salmon in butter and olive oil in a large nonstick skillet until it’s a nice deep golden brown.

Take the salmon out of the pan and put it on a plate covered with foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce.

The sauce starts by very quickly sauteeing some garlic just to release its flavor, and then adding the broth, wine and lemon juice. Cook this 8 to 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half and starts to take on more of a sauce consistency.

Finish the salmon piccata sauce with capers, thyme, lemon zest, a bit more butter, and salt and pepper. Transfer the salmon back to the pan and give it a few turns until it’s nicely glazed in the sauce.

Garnish with parsley and serve!

Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

What to serve with salmon with piccata sauce:

My absolute favorite side dishes for salmon piccata are orzo and steamed broccoli, because I just love the combination of salmon and orzo.

My salmon piccata recipe makes a generous amount of sauce, so I spoon some of the sauce over the orzo, too. You could even turn this dish into a salmon piccata pasta by making some noodles, breaking up the salmon, and tossing everything together.

You could also serve this with Israeli couscous, like I did with pesto salmon.

Other great vegetable side dishes are balsamic green beans and roasted glazed carrots.

If this is for a special Valentine’s Day dinner for your sweetie, finish the meal with heart jam cookies!

More delicious salmon recipes:

In my opinion, salmon is just as versatile as chicken. At breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s a great choice for lean protein.

Salmon piccata in a white skillet, garnished with lemon wedges.

Salmon Piccata

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This restaurant-quality Salmon Piccata serves up crispy salmon fillets glazed with a tangy sauce made with lemon juice, wine, capers and butter.

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (about 5-6 ounces each), patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (be sure to zest the lemon first)
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Lemon slices, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Season all sides of salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place flour in shallow dish and dredge all sides of each piece of salmon with flour, shaking off excess flour.
  2. In large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to mix butter and olive oil.
  3. Add salmon to skillet and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until salmon is deep golden brown and easily releases from pan, turning once halfway through cooking, and gently pressing each side of the salmon down with a spatula so it makes good contact with the pan. Transfer salmon to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. 
  4. Reduce heat on skillet to medium-low. Add garlic and cook 15 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. 
  5. Add broth, wine and lemon juice to skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half, stirring and scraping bottom of pan as it cooks.
  6. Reduce heat to medum-low and stir in capers, thyme, lemon zest and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Taste sauce and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. When butter is melted, transfer salmon back to skillet and turn so salmon is covered in sauce. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices, if desired, and serve immediately. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 684mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 33g

This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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