Whole30 Fish Piccata is delicious, super easy to prepare, and comes together in around 15 minutes, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner. Just like my Chicken Piccata, the sauce is made with minimal ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry and you can use just about any white fish you like. Here, I used pre-frozen halibut filets that I defrosted in the fridge, but haddock, pickerel, sea bass, trout, cod, orange roughy, mahi mahi, snapper or grouper would all work equally well.
Traditionally, piccata involves pan-frying a thin piece of meat, often chicken, before using the same pan to make a white wine, lemon and caper sauce. Truth is, anything works for piccata. You can use thinly sliced veal, fish or even shrimp for that matter. Now’s the time to get crazy and try all kinds of variations!
The protein is usually dredged in wheat flour before frying so that it gets nice and crispy. The pan then gets deglazed with white wine and lemon juice before being finished with butter. The finished product is bright, citrusy and briney, all of which goes perfectly with the crispiness of the meat or fish.
To keep things Whole30 and paleo, I like to dredge the fish in arrowroot starch. It’s a great gluten-free and grain-free substitute for regular flour and gets nice and crispy as it fries. However, it’s important to ONLY dredge the fish IMMEDIATELY before frying. Otherwise, the arrowroot starch can get gummy.
I also prefer to use chicken stock instead of white wine. Not only does it make the dish a little lighter, but I also prefer the flavour this way. Not to mention the fact that I don’t run the risk of trying to convince myself that I now need to finish drinking the rest of the bottle I just opened. Fish stock would also work here but, truth be told, it’s more difficult to find a compliant store-bought one. You can certainly make one from scratch and use that if you prefer.
Whole30 Fish Piccata
- 4 halibut filets – approximately 4-ounces each
- kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup arrowroot starch – or more if required
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot or ½ small red onion – thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
- ¼ lemon - thinly sliced into discs
- 1 tablespoons capers
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons ghee - optional
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill or parsley – finely chopped
- Pat fish dry with paper towel and lightly season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika. Add arrowroot starch to a large bowl and dredge each fish filet until well coated. Set aside.
- Preheat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Carefully add the fish to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook the second side until golden brown and the fish is cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Transfer fish to a serving platter and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add shallot. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the capers, lemon slices, chicken stock and lemon juice and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until reduced in volume by half. Add the ghee, if using, and stir through until melted.
- Spoon the sauce overtop of the fish and serve immediately.