Sole Piccata

Don’t you love petrale sole? Such a lovely light and delicate fish. I couldn’t resist picking up a few fillets today at the market. A classic piccata is a great way to prepare sole, or any small flat fish such as flounder or fluke. Just lightly dust the fillets in seasoned flour, fry them on both sides until nicely browned, and serve them with a sauce made with white wine, capers, butter, and parsley. Enjoy!

Sole Piccata Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

This recipe calls for petrale sole, but any small flat fish fillet will work. Other good choices are flounder, fluke, small walleye or perch, rock cod, catfish or crappie. The recipe will work best with fillets that are 3/8-inch to 1/2 inch thick.

Have everything ready before you start cooking the fish, as the recipe comes together very quickly.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin, skinless fish fillets
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour for dredging
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup small capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Method

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1 Rinse the fish in cold water and pat them dry. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper. Then place the flour mixture in a long shallow bowl or dish. Dredge the fillets in the flour so that both sides are lightly coated.

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2 Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stick-free sauté pan. When the oil is hot (add a little pinch of flour to the oil, and if it sizzle immediately, you're ready), work in batches and place the fish fillets in the pan in one layer and fry until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan if needed. Once browned on both sides, remove the fish fillets from the pan, set them on a paper towel-lined plate (or keep them warm in a 200°F oven).

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3 Add the white wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine boil furiously for a minute or two, until greatly reduced, then add the lemon juice and capers. Boil another minute. Turn off the heat. Add 1 Tbsp of butter to the pan, swirling it constantly. When it melts, repeat the process with the other tablespoon of butter. Stir in half of the parsley and pour it over the fish. Sprinkle the fish with the remaining parsley. Serve at once.

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Links:

Cod Piccata, from Elena's Pantry

Sole Meuniere, from Leite's Culinaria

Sole Roulades, from La Tartine Gourmande

Sole Piccata on Simply Recipes

28 Comments

  1. Debbie

    This is one of my favorites and this recipe is just what I need for after work cooking. Putting it on the menu for next Friday! I love the butter swirl you added. I can almost taste this sauce already.

    • Gary

      Me too. Especially during Lent. Anything with capers, I love it. Yummm.

  2. Ann

    I just love capers in a white wine sauce like chicken picatta! Why not with fish, Cant wait to try it. Looks Great!

  3. Judith

    I like drinking sauvignon blancs, and do not like chardonnays that much. However, when it comes to cooking, chards are better ($2 chuck is great). When I cooked this sauce with sauvignon blanc, it tasted thin and metallic. It is richer and rounder with chards.

  4. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Elise- this is totally going in my “to-try” file for dinners next week! I have some Meyer Lemons in my fruit basket, which can only make this even better, right?

  5. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    I love that there’s no mess in this recipe. Simple and light to enjoy the flavors from fresh fish :)

  6. Inspirowane smakiem

    Looks delicious. Yummy. :)

  7. MrsPeel

    hi, just wanted to pop in say thank you for the recipezs, have tried a couple, my daughter is a vegetarian so I don’t cook red or white meat at home, only fish & quorn, but have adapted many of your recipes, and am always pinning them….thanks so much!!!!

  8. Bert

    Great idea using sole!
    I regularly make chicken and veal piccata, just never thought of sole. Thanks!

  9. Keli M.

    I’m definitely using this on our abundant supply of walleye. I’m always looking for good things to do with walleye. Thanks Elise!

  10. Laura

    This is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare sole, talapia, or scallops. I like to steam asparagus to serve with it–very complimentary to the lemon. Wonderful, simple recipe, thank you!

  11. Kalyn

    Love this idea. Sole is a fish I haven’t cooked much but I love the flavor.

  12. Sandi

    Do you think this would work with tilapia? I’d like to start using it more but haven’t really found a recipe that gives it enough flavor.

  13. Alex

    Is there any difference between sole piccata and sole meuniere?

    • Elise

      From what I can tell, sole piccata always has capers, sole meuniere doesn’t necessarily have capers. Also sole meuniere is fried in butter. The butter browns and the resulting sauce has that nutty browned butter flavor.

      • MIMSEY

        Oops, I used butter instead of olive oil to fry the fish and accidentally made sole meuniere! The nutty brown sauce (w/capers) was out of this world!

  14. fabiola@notjustbaked

    Simple, beautiful, and delicious.

  15. Kathleen

    We’ve had your chicken piccata so many times since you posted it. I don’t know if my family will let me stray from it. I’ve followed many food blogs over the years but you are my most trusted.

  16. Denise

    Pure comfort food. I am feeling the need to settle in a bit and enjoy these last few days of winter, this recipe will be the perfect addition! Not to mention so easy to make – the simplest meals are the best, my opinion.

  17. Amy

    We made this last night and loved it. Thank you!

  18. Franj

    In case you caper lovers (like me) don’t know..If you have access to a Costco..they have wonderful big jars of capers for a very reasonable price…(usually they come in small jars!) and the vinagrette that they are packed in is pretty tasty and can give an extra zing to things! It just entices you to find more things to put them in!!

  19. Helana Brigman

    This Piccata looks great, your instructions are great and easy to follow can’t wait to make this dish!

  20. Anita Sullivan

    Yum! I’m on a quest to eat whole foods, and as I drop the convenience items, I’m always glad to find things like this that are so simple and yet so delicious. I’m going to think of how I could do the same basic thing without white flour, but since it’s such a very little bit, may just use it.

  21. Peter

    When you have lemons, make piccata. I used plaice filets, which are perfect for this. It’s a sustainable and wild caught fish, not farmed. After sautéing the fish, I poured off the excess oil. I thinly sliced a lemon and after adding the wine to deglaze the pan, I added the lemon slices. This give an additional tang to the sauce and the lemon slices are delicious. The rest of the recipe followed. It was delicious.

  22. Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy

    This recipe looks divine exactly as written. However, I don’t have any butter or white flour (only whole wheat) in the house because I don’t usually cook with those ingredients. Has anyone tried these adaptations with any success? My kids like sole, and I think they will really like this recipe.

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