Recently I got hold of some fresh-caught tripletail. I thought I’d do something simple because I was hungry and didn’t want to wait. Plus, I kept thinking about how fresh this fish was and how much I wanted to get it in a hot pan and taste it as soon as possible.
I decided to prepare the fish in a piccata style with capers, wine and butter. I added a bit of fresh spinach at the end to create more texture in this very simple dish.
Piccata is an Italian term that can mean two things — “to be pounded flat” or “sliced, sautéed and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices.” If you were making chicken or veal piccata, you would probably do both. However, there’s definitely no need to start pounding on a tripletail fillet.
When I prepare food in a paiccata style, I often add a small amount of spinach and a few artichokes into the mix as well. It works great with chicken and just about anything else you want to pair it with.
The fish I had was super fresh and I couldn’t wait to try it. I did my usual steps, making sure the fillet was nice and dry on all sides, then sautéeing it to get a nice color on the edges. I then began to make my sauce.
The key thing to remember when making piccata sauce: Make sure your butter is at room temperature. Cold butter just isn’t going to work, and neither is melted butter. You want it nice and soft.
I chopped up some shallots and braised them in a cup of white wine, slowly reducing it by about half. Then I removed it from the heat and slowly whisked in the butter until it reached a sauce consistency. Last, I added the capers.
This basic and easy sauce works for many dishes. Just try and you will see. As for my tripletail dinner, it was wonderful. There’s nothing like a good piece of fresh fish.
Chef Tim Spain is a Florida native and has years of experience cooking professionally, both in restaurants and in private settings. He offers private catering and personal culinary classes. For more info, visit ChefTimSpain.com or call 406-580-1994.