How to Cook Sea Bass With Lemon and Capers

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Many species of fish end up with the moniker "bass" when they reach the market. Look for readily available and sustainable varieties such as striped bass or black sea bass. They share a characteristic firm white flesh that makes a good choice for pan-fried preparations such as piccata. This American variation on the classic Italian lemon and butter sauce adds piquant capers to a short ingredient list that belies the resulting depth of flavor.

Step 1

Rinse 1 teaspoon of capers per fillet in cold water and set them aside. Bring a heavy skillet to medium-high heat, then add enough oil to barely cover the bottom. Add a pat of butter and swirl it to coat the pan.

Step 2

Season both sides of the skinless sea bass fillets with salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in flour, shaking them lightly to knock off the excess. Put them in the skillet without crowding the pan.

Step 3

Cook the fillets until the bottoms brown, approximately two minutes. Flip and cook them on the other side until the flesh turns opaque and snowy throughout, approximately two or three minutes more. Remove the fillets and put them on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

Step 4

Add several splashes of liquid, such as white wine, vermouth or fish stock, to deglaze the pan, scraping up all of the stuck bits of fish and flour. Stir in capers and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste, and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half, approximately three to four minutes. Finish the sauce with a generous pat of butter, stirring until it melts throughout.

Step 5

Plate the fish and top each fillet with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sauce. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and lemon zest over the top. Serve with a lemon wedge.