Halibut or Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

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Made with just a handful of ingredients that are easy to keep on hand, this recipe is quick, easy, and loaded with flavor. If you’ve ever tried Piccata sauce at an Italian restaurant, this sauce tastes just like it….only better! And once you realize how easy it is to make, you’ll be enjoying delicious lemon halibut or scallops again and again.

This recipe is perfect for date nights or even dinner parties. And best of all, it’s lightened up from original lemon caper sauce recipes.

Serve with a simple brown rice medley (such as the one made by Trader Joe’s) and roasted asparagus.

Make it extra special by pairing with a crisp, fruity white such as a Sauvignon Blanc; a dry, sparkling wine (a brut using chardonnay grapes); a rosé from France’s Rhône valley or a Spanish rosé made from tempranillo grapes.

Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

To make with the scallops see the recipe below*. I think Alton Brown’s technique creates scallop perfection! Make the sauce first, then immediately sear the scallops. Make sure you allow an hour time for the scallops to sit in paper towel so they are very dry.

Serves 4

  • 1 ½ pounds halibut filet, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/3 cup flour for dredging
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs. capers, drained
  • 4 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley, optional
  • Juice of half a lemon, about 2 Tbs

Assemble all the ingredients near the stove.

Place a serving plate in warm oven 125-150 F degrees.

Place the flour in a shallow dish with edges and season with salt and pepper.

Pat halibut filets dry with paper towels.

Heat oil in frying pan over medium high heat.

Dredge halibut in flour mixture and place in hot pan.

Cook halibut until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until other side is golden, being careful not to overcook. The fish is done when it reaches an internal temperature between 130 and 135 F however, to be safe, the current recommendation is to aim for 145 F.

Remove halibut to warm serving plate and allow to rest.

Sauce Directions:

Pour the broth into the pan and stir to get up all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the butter to the broth and add garlic, capers, and parsley (if using). Simmer 2 minutes. Add lemon juice to pan, stir, and pour over halibut. Serve immediately.

*Alton Brown’s Scallop Recipe 

1 1/4 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 16 – 20

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Put in a bowl with paper towel in the fridge for an hour to allow towel to soak up any residual liquid. The scallops need to be very dry.

When ready to cook, remove scallops from refrigerator.

Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14-inch sauté pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Serve immediately.