Chunky, tangy and salty, this easy Caper Sauce recipe packs a bright and delicious finish for fish, shrimp and even chicken. Easy to make and ready in a few minutes, this caper sauce for fish is the perfect way to bring your simple grilled, baked or pan fried seafood dishes to the next level.
Try it on my Pan Seared Salmon recipe!
This easy caper sauce can turn any simple fish, like this pan seared salmon, into a restaurant-style dish.
It’s kind of like a piccata, but made with lime instead of lemon. Lime brings in more zing, as well as a more sour flavor profile into the sauce. With that said, all that fatty butter and salty tang from the capers help round out the bitterness from the limes, leaving us with pleasant tart notes.
Plus, the addition of the lime zest helps bring in floral, smooth, and citrusy flavors as well. It’s so good!
I love to serve this Caper Sauce on top of fish, like salmon, sea bass, tilapia… and, it even works on shrimp and chicken.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do!
What you need to make this recipe:
- Onion — I use yellow or white.
- Brazilian sofrito — or a few garlic cloves, minced.
- Butter — I like to use unsalted butter in recipes like this because I can then salt the recipe to my liking. You can use salted butter, if you don’t have unsalted, but give it a taste before adding additional salt, especially considering that capers are salty as well.
- Capers — the star of our dish! These salty, briny, acidic green buds add SO MUCH FLAVOR to any dish.
- White wine — a dry white wine, like a sauvignon blanc or a pinot grigio will bring out more of the acidic profiles in our sauce, while an oaked white wine like a chardonnay will be rounder and smoother.
- Fresh thyme — I would not add in dried thyme because this is a quick sauce and the dry thyme won’t release as much flavor, as well as it won’t soften all the way, potentially leaving you with unpleasant pieces of thyme sticky leaves in your mouth.
- Fresh parsley — Italian or flat leaf parsley work here. The fresh parsley brings a beautiful brightess, so don’t skip it.
- Lime — we’re going to zest it first, then juice it.
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How to make Caper Sauce
Saute the aromatics. We start by melting some of the butter and then adding the onions to saute just enough to sweat them – meaning we want to cook the onions until they are soft and transparent.
Next, add the Brazilian sofrito. Sautee until fragrant and lightly golden brown. This will bring out a little sweetness from the onion, too, which helps as we layer in the salty and acidic elements of the recipe.
Pour in the wine and add the thyme. Let these simmer gently to evaporate the alcohol and let the thyme flavor infuse.
Once the wine has mostly evaporated, remove the thyme from the skillet and discard.
Add in the minced capers, the lime juice and the rest of the butter. Stir gently until the butter has melted.
Give it a taste and season with salt and cracked pepper… but go easy on the salt. Capers are already salty, so you want to make sure you start with just a little pinch.
Finally, turn off the heat and add the chopped fresh parsley and the lime zest, then, whisk to combine.
It’s important to add the lime zest and the chopped parsley off the heat because we don’t want to cook them. We just need the residual heat to warm them up and release their bright, grassy green flavor oils into the sauce.
If we cook them, the flavor profile changes – the lime zest can turn bitter and the parsley can become muted and flat.
Then, just serve a generous scoop of this buttery tangy goodness onto baked, grilled or pan seared fish.
I love it on pan seared salmon!! But, it works with any fish like, tilapia, sea bass, cod, haddock, halibut, and many others.
It even works on shrimp or chicken! So versatile and delicious.
How to store:
This caper sauce recipe doesn’t make a ton of sauce, but if you’ve got leftovers, simply transfer them to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat in 30-second bursts in the microwave until warmed through.
What to serve alongside this sauce:
Pair this sauce with your favorite fish… and pair it with the following:
Other Sauces and Dressings to Try:
- Lime Butter Sauce for Fish
- Passion Fruit Sauce
- Spinach Almond Pesto Recipe
- Mango Salad Dressing
- Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing
- Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
Other Fish Recipes you’ll love:
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Buttery Caper Sauce
- 1/2 cup of onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons of Brazilian sofrito or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons of capers, roughly minced
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon of parsley, minced
- 1 tesapoon of lime zest from 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice, freshly squeezed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small pan over medium heat.
- Measure in the onions. Let them cook until they are soft and transparent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the Brazilian sofrito and sautee until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and the thyme. Cook until the wine has mostly cooked out.
- Remove the thyme and discard, then add the capers, the lime juice, and the rest of the butter. Stir until the butter has melted.
- Give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn off the heat. Add the parsley and the lime zest. Stir to incorporate.
- Serve over fish, shrimp or your favorite protein. (This works great with chicken, too!)