Osa eats

 

Fish Piccata

Barbara Burkhardt

Barbara is the owner of Jade Luna Home Made Ice Cream, downtown main street, and sells a wide variety of homemade delicacies at the Friday Matapalo farmer’s market at Martina’s Bar.  Contact her directly jadeluna1@yahoo.com

SOCIEDAD Y CULTURA


Growing up on the south shore of eastern Long Island I lived blocks away from the Great South Bay.  I come from a family of bay men, and am spoiled by eating only freshly-caught fish. The town of Puerto Jiménez in Costa Rica, where I now live, butts up against a large body of water called the Golfo Dulce or sweet gulf, so you would assume that we would have daily access to an abundance of fresh fish. But the gulf is one of a handful of the world’s tropical fjord-like embayments formed by shifting continental plates.  It is marked by a plunging depth of up to 200 meters on the eastern side (across the gulf) and tidal flats on our western side.

Therefore the commercial fishing fleet pulls in to the deep water port across the gulf where the best and freshest fish is processed for exportation and the seconds are sold locally, usually frozen and then sent over to our side on the passenger ferry in a cardboard box. That to me is not fresh fish, and I will not buy it, ever.  On our side we have small boats called pangas that fish with hand lines or long lines, but they are able to sell their fish quickly and easily to the town’s restaurants. We also have sportfishing boats, but by law they are not allowed to sell their fish. So what’s a fish loving girl to do?!

Well luckily for me I make homemade gourmet ice cream for my living and I know a certain fisherman whose family loves ice cream, and so we barter fish for ice cream! There are many types of fish in the gulf but some of my eating favorites are red snapper, snook, grouper, sea pass, pompano, jack, and cobia. Any of these will work well with this classic preparation of Fish Piccata, which is Sautéed fish in a lemon butter caper sauce.

Ingredients

  • 6 -8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or as needed to sauté all of the fish
  • 1 kg of ½ inch thick fish filets
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons capers
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, blot the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Sauté the fish in the oil until just cooked through, about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the fish to a platter and keep warm. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for a minute (add more olive oil if needed).  Add the capers and sauté for a minute, deglaze the pan with the white wine, whisking for a minute to burn off the alcohol, add the lemon juice and whisk for a minute, reducing the sauce.  Lower the heat and add the butter bit by bit, whisking to incorporate and bring the sauce together. Taste the sauce for a good balance of acidity to fat. Season the sauce with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and finish with the chopped parsley. Pour over the fish and serve.

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