Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce and Spinach Orzo

Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce
Dutch Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce and Spinach Orzo

This Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce and Spinach Orzo is a great pairing perfect for any season, but especially nice as a festive meal in the fall and winter. It is perfect for date night, and easy enough to make for a crowd! This is a great way to serve a good piece of fish with a super flavorful sauce without covering up the natural great taste of the fish.

Dutch Yellowtail

We chose Yellowtail for this preparation for its nice texture and ability to be pan seared to perfection without drying out too quickly (overcooked), or burning without cooking throughout (undercooked).

The fish is the star of the show, here, and the firm but flaky flesh of the Yellowtail really works well.

Selecting a high-quality fish is always the key to an excellent fish dish. For this reason we choose Dutch Yellowtail from Kingfish Zeeland. Dutch Yellowtail are certified and approved as sustainably-raised in environmentally friendly conditions. Specifically, they are raised antibiotic and GMO-free in a 100% green-energy, land-based farm using wind, solar, and biogas with a state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture system, which protects biodiversity and ensures biosecurity. It can’t get much better than that!

Dutch Yellowtail
Dutch Yellowtail from Kingfish Zeeland
Please note: This post was sponsored by Kingfish Zeeland. All opinions are our own.

You can find Dutch Yellowtail in the frozen seafood section of Whole Foods Market in the US.

Pan Searing the Fish

We pan sear the fish in butter, basting as we go, and eventually the butter turns brown and lends even more nutty flavor to the fish. Getting both sides caramelized makes for a beautiful piece of protein, but also adds so much in the way of taste and texture to the fish.

This is a fairly easy preparation that lends a good amount of buttery flavor to the fish on its own. It also results in a beautiful presentation of the fish with a nice caramelized crust.

Lemon Caper Cream Sauce

This sauce is big in flavor and very nice with the fish. A little bit on the plate and you have a standout dish. In this sauce, we reduced the wine and then added a little more to reduce again. This adds another dimension of layered flavor to the sauce.

Dutch Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce
The Lemon Caper Cream Sauce adds a ton of flavor to complement the Dutch Yellowtail.

We use fish stock as the base of this Lemon Caper Cream Sauce. If you are worried about using a fish stock for a cream sauce, don’t be! Despite the initial aroma of fish stock that generally turns people off, the end result of the sauce has zero essence of “fishiness” and will complement the yellowtail much better compared to a vegetable or chicken stock. Just trust us on this one, you won’t regret it!

Spinach Orzo

We love our pasta, and this is a great way to use orzo. A little lemon at the end brightens it up and creates a lightness not often found in pasta. The other element is using raw spinach. Adding the piping hot orzo right on top of the spinach allows the greens to wilt slightly, keep their vibrant color, and flavor, and retain the slightest bit of texture. Not to mention it is the easiest spinach preparation short of eating it out of your hand raw!


We hope you enjoy this delicious Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce and Spinach Orzo recipe! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Dutch Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce
Dutch Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce and Spinach Orzo

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Yellowtail with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce and Spinach Orzo

5 from 6 votes
Course: MainCuisine: American, ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • For the Sauce
  • 1 small 1 shallot, finely chopped (30g)

  • 2 tsp 2 butter

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 dry white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc or equivalent dryness) divided

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 seafood or fish stock

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 lemon juice

  • 1 cup 1 heavy cream

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 white pepper

  • 2 tsp 2 thyme leaves

  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 2g)

  • 3 Tbsp 3 capers, rinsed and drained (30g)

  • For the Pasta
  • 1 cup 1 orzo pasta

  • 4 cups 4 water

  • 1 cup 1 vegetable stock

  • 2 Tbsp 2 kosher salt

  • 2 Tbsp 2 lemon juice

  • 1 cup 1 baby spinach (50g)

  • For the Fish
  • 2 2 single serving filets of Dutch Yellowtail (1 package) from Whole Foods Market, defrosted

  • 1 tsp 1 kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 white pepper

  • 3 Tbsp 3 unsalted butter

  • Fresh thyme and lemon wedges for garnish


  • Make the Sauce
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and gently sauté until the shallots have become soft but do not color or brown. Add ½ cup of the wine and reduce “au sec” or until the liquid is almost gone (approximately 10 minutes). Be careful not to go too far and burn the shallots.
  • Once reduced, add the remaining ¼ cup of wine and reduce until the smell of alcohol is gone (approximately 5-10 minutes). There will be a couple of Tbsp of liquid remaining.
  • Add the fish stock and lemon juice and reduce to about 1/3 of a cup of liquid, then add the cream. Stir or whisk to completely incorporate everything. Add the salt, white pepper, thyme leaves, and lemon zest stir. Reduce the sauce slowly, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Once complete, stir in the capers, taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Remove the sauce from the heat or maintain on low heat while you prepare the orzo. When the orzo is done is almost done, warm your sauce over low heat for serving.
  • Make the Pasta
  • Bring the water, vegetable stock and salt to a boil in a large saucepan or small pot. Add the orzo and cook “al dente,” or until the pasta has a firm bite but no “crunch.” Depending on the orzo you use, this can take between 6 and 12 minutes, so read your package instructions or just taste along the way.
  • While the orzo is cooking, put the spinach in a large bowl. When the orzo is done, drain and immediately add the orzo to the spinach. Mix with a spoon or spatula until the spinach is wilted, then add the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Make the Fish
  • While the orzo is cooking, start your fish. Using the kosher salt and white pepper, season both sides of the fish. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Carefully place the fish in the butter and cook. Baste (spoon the butter over) the top of the fish with the excess butter as it cooks. You will probably need about 3-4 minutes per side – you don’t want the pan scorching hot. Continue the same browning/basting process on the other side of the fish. The butter should start to brown and smell nutty by the time your fish is done.
  • Remove the fish and serve with the orzo and a little sauce under and on top of the fish. Garnish with fresh thyme and lemon wedges.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Brenda G. says:

    Awesome recipe… tried it last night… it took a little long… but it was absolutely worth it and turned out delicious!! Thank you!!

    1. Angela and Mark Author says:

      So happy to hear that you liked this recipe! Thank you for your comment!

  2. Are we sure it’s 4 cups of water and 1 cup broth to one cup orzo?

    1. Angela and Mark Author says:

      Hello Maggie! Yes, this is correct. Unlike other preparations, we don’t let the orzo fully absorb the liquid here. The orzo is cooked like you would cook other pasta shapes with a large amount of liquid that you drain before serving. Once the orzo is cooked to your liking, the liquid is drained, then you mix in the spinach. Enjoy!

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