October 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 11:33 pm

Not, as you might have thought, my latest trick for tackling my homeward journey down Highgate Hill but instead a tasty little treat I found at Borough market.

When I go to Borough, I avoid taking Goon with me unless its absolutely necessary. This is particularly important now, since the rather large cheese wheel he bought back in January has apparently been totally consumed and putting him in the vicinity of more gorgonzola seems like asking for trouble.

But the problem is that Goon has been moping recently. This is in response to my rather long working days. I have even less time than I did last year to indulge him on weekday evenings. So at weekends, when I am around, Goon tends to follow me everywhere.

On my first couple of trips to Borough, I sneaked away when Goon was asleep but last weekend, hung over and tired, I didn’t leave until 2pm and Goon gleefully followed me to the market. As usual he was apathetic about most things on sale there but, on this occassion, his eye was caught by something  on the fish counter.

The creatures in question were live crayfish. As much as I am in favour of killing what I eat by myself, there was something I found vaguely arachnid about these creatures and I, for want of a better phrase, am f***ing terrified of all things spiderlike. So, in an attempt to distract Goon from his live prey, i tutted and said ‘But we’ve HAD crayfish before! Why don’t we get something we haven’t tried’. Luckily for me, right in front of the crayfish were a pile of skate wings, which neither of us had eaten before.

A little internet research led me to the following recipe for skate wings. It’s a classic for a reason and well worth trying.

Skate Wings with Brown Butter and Capers (with special thanks to Ian for his input to this recipe)

skate with brown butter and capers

  • 2 skate wings (600g), skinned
  • court bouillon for poaching ( I used leeks and carrots, garlic, bay leaves and thyme simmered for about half an hour)
  • handful of capers in brine, drained and soaked
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 75g butter
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. Place the skate wings in large a large saucepan/skillet and cover with the court bouillon. Bring the bouillon to a gentle simmer.
  2. When the fish flakes easily (after roughly 8 minutes) remove the fish from the pan and place on  a warmed serving plate.
  3. Melt the butter in  saucepan over a medium heat. When it has turned golden brown, immediately pour it over the fish.
  4. Swill out the pan with the white wine vinegar and pour this over the fish too.  
  5. Scatter the capers and chopped parsley over the skate wings and serve, perhaps with sauteéd anya potatoes and buttered steamed asparagus.

***

While I was researching skate recipes, I was a little annoyed that all I could find were variants of this. Now I understand why it is so popular. The flavour balance in this dish is perfect. Skate isn’t quite like other white fish. It has a different texture. It’s not exactly fatty but it needs something to ‘cut through’ the gelationousness (is that a real word?) of the fish. The vinegar and the salty capers were perfect for this. The brown butter gave depth to the dish. It really was delicious.

An additional bonus is that skate is relatively cheap. So if you see some on sale, givethis a try.

4 Comments »

  1. Hi Ros,

    I love skate wings, and I also had them on friday with capers and butter. They’re also good simply dusted with seasoned flour and fried in a non stick pan, served with a big squeeze of lemon. I love that you scrape all the meat off one side… and then you can flip it over and do it all again!

    Comment by schmoof — October 27, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

  2. I think of skate as somewhat of a treat, which is odd considering it’s relatively low cost. It’s by far my dad’s favourite fish, and he also likes to cook his very simply. I know exactly what you mean about the gelationousness, the texture of the flesh is kinda stringy but at the same time it has a wonderfully buttery melt-in-the-mouth feel.

    Comment by Trig — October 28, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

  3. I too love skate - and I think this is the classic dish. However, there’s a good Rick Stein recipe that pairs it with North African flavours - from memory, it’s tomatoes, chilli, a touch of vinegar and sumac. Skate seems to go well with quite robust flavours I think.

    Comment by Richard — October 29, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  4. Mmmm, I love skate but have never cooked it for myself. Don’t see how yuo coudl go wrong with browned butter and capers, really! Thanks for the recipe :)

    Comment by Jeanne — November 15, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

In the aid of defeating SPAM Comments, please follow these instructions: