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Skate in caper sauce | The Smelly Alley Fish Company


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!