Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The fish with wings.

Have you ever heard of skate? Or maybe you know it by it's other name, the ray (as in stingray). Only the wing fillets are worth eating and they are separated off by a sheath of cartilage which make eating them a small adventure. However, once you brave the unusual anatomy of the creature, you get firm succulent white fish at a reasonable price. They are boneless and fairly easy to fabricate. Sometimes the flesh can give off a slightly chemical smell but that can be dealt with by soaking the fish in a little acidulated water (water with some lemon juice in it). Don't be scared. Try something new, it won't kill you. Unless of course someone is trying to poison you. In which case, don't eat anything you don't make yourself. Good luck.

Sauteed Skate w/ Pickled Lemons and Beurre Noisette

4 skate wings, rinsed and patted dry
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup pickled lemons (recipes below)
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbsp capers, drained
3-4 slices of french bread, cut into 1" cubes
2 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

First make the croutons. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Toss the cubed bread with the garlic power and salt. Drizzle them with canola oil. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake until golden brown (about 6-8 minutes).

Over medium high heat add 1/2 Tbsp canola oil and 1 Tbsp of butter to a large saute pan. If the skate wings are too large, cut them in half. Salt and pepper the flour. Dust the skate wings in the flour, shaking off the excess and add the skate wings to pan. Saute for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove the skate from the pan and keep warm.

In a the same, melt the rest of the butter over a medium low heat. Once the butter starts to turn golden brown add chopped parsley, lemon juice, and capers. Remove from heat. Pour evenly over cooked skate and serve with slices of pickled lemons and croutons.

Serves 4

Pickled Lemons
8 lemons, thinly sliced
32 fl oz lemon juice
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp pickling spices

Mix the lemon juice, pickling spices, salt and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil, and cook 3-4 minutes until sugar and salt dissolve. Add the lemon slices to a sterile container, and pour the brine over them and tightly cover. Will last refrigerated about one week.