Skate are flat, diamond-shaped fish. They are scaleless and boneless – their skeleton is made of cartilage, which is easily removed from the cooked fish, so this is not a fish where bones pose a problem. The part which is eaten is called the wing. Skate is a delicate fish, with a creamy flavour.
Eat skate by taking the flesh from the long, soft, comb-like bones with a knife and fork, then turning the wing over and repeating the process. It’s easy to eat, no trouble from bones. A good fish for those new to fish eating!
Skate eggs are contained in the tough, rectangular-shaped cases that are found on beaches and are called "witches’ purses” or "mermaids’ purses”.
Skate in caper sauce
This isn't a complicated recipe. It will take about 25 minutes.
For each person you will need:
1 skate wing
a dash of vinegar
about ¼ pint of single cream
about 1 tablespoon of capers
juice of about ¼ lemon
about 1 dessertspoonful of chopped parsley
a large frying pan or a deep baking tray for each skate wing or pair of wings
to serve: green vegetables or salad, and new or mashed potatoes
NOTE: you can cook the skate on the hob or in the oven. If you want to cook it in the oven, preheat it to 180 to 190°C. Warm some plates to serve.
To cook the skate
Poach the skate wings as follows.
Use a frying pan (on the hob) or a baking tray (in the oven).
If you are cooking more than about 2 wings, it would probably be easier to cook them in the oven.
Put one large or two small wings in each frying pan or baking tray, and carefully pour already-boiling water over them. Add a dash of vinegar.
Then poach the wings
- by putting the baking tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or
- by putting the frying pan on the hob and keeping the water gently bubbling for about 6-8 minutes.
The wings are done when the fish is opaque right through to the middle and a sharp knife easily parts the flesh.
The wings have a thick and thin side, so when they are cooked, agitate the water with a spoon so that any cooking liquid is washed off the fish, then take them out of the water with a fish slice, arranging them on a plate with the thick side uppermost.
To make the sauce
Put the cream, lemon juice, capers and parsley in a pan and warm it through gently, but don’t boil it. Pour over the skate wings on the plates, and serve at once with the salad or vegetables, and potatoes. WONDERFUL!