Skate with Lemon and Capers

14 Aug
Retro Skate

So, having had a moment of madness slow cooking pork and beans not so long ago, I have reverted to summer style cooking. Phew!

My lovely Fish man, who is soon going to have his own fan club out here in blogland, came up trumps this week with a delicious skate (or ray) for us.  He knows that Big Man and I both love it, so if he can get hold of skate, he always saves me one.

They´re odd looking fish, a bit scary looking too to deal with, but actually quite straightforward when you know how.

The Skate, the whole Skate, and nothing but the Skate

A skate has two very distinct wings and if you get your knife in between the nodule and the “back bone” it just cuts straight off.  

Slip the knife in so...

Voilá, two perfect portions.

Ready to be coated in flour and fried

And the other bits still have a lot of meat on them so pop them into a pot with some water, bay leaves, peppercorns and any vegetables you have to hand and you´ll very soon have a delicious fish stock and lots of bits of delicious skate trimmings to put into a paella or a seafood stew.

I dusted the wings in flour, seasoned them and then fried gently in a huge frying pan in a very little olive oil (although it would be very good with butter).  When the skate was lightly browned on both sides I put them to one side and kept warm, turned up the heat and fried some capers until brown then added a good squeeze of lemon juice, a dash of white wine and reduced until just a few tablespoons of juices were left. I poured these over the skate, poured two good glasses of white wine and we sat back to enjoy.

When I was very young my parents both worked in the catering trade, but Sunday lunch we sometimes managed to spend time together.  My father´s idea of a relaxing Sunday lunch was to go on a busman´s holiday and check out his pals´ restaurants.  This meant I got to visit some really quite nice restaurants in central London from a very early age.  No concession was made (quite rightly I still feel) to children by preparing “kids meals”, we all got whatever the chef or manager thought was his best dish of the day.  I loved it when we got served skate as the meat slides easily off the bone and there are no tricky bits to get lodge in a small person´s throat.  Memories of this dish take me back to Soho, London circa 1975 – hence my retro photo!

If you like this, check out Tandy´s delicious Hake with Olives, Anchovy Butter and Caper Berries over at Lavender and Lime.


37 Responses to “Skate with Lemon and Capers”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide August 14, 2011 at 00:29 #

    This is fabulous, I like the no kid’s menu rule. Also, it’s way better than a retro skate in the states. That would involve Gen Xers strapping on leg warmers and hitting the only open roller rink in two counties. Bad 80s music would also be in order. I have to run call Katherine, I just got the best idea for a date night!

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 10:12 #

      Hee, hee – am getting a great picture of you in the leg warmers with possibly a headband too, and Donna Summer belting it out…fabulous!

  2. florence and freddie August 14, 2011 at 00:47 #

    Hi Chica. What a wonderful childhood you had. Having met your Ma and Pa I can imagine the fun you must have had at the weekends. Lucky you getting skate up in the mountains! Looks delicious.
    Regards Florence x

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 10:14 #

      Hey Florence! We didn´t get too many Sundays together as my dad was usually working (the alternatives were spent with my mum, brother, god mother and her kids going for picnincs – usually in the rain!), The time we did have though was always fun! Have a great Sunday, Chica x

  3. ambrosiana August 14, 2011 at 01:10 #

    What a beautiful story behind this dish! This is what makes a dish so special as yours! It must have been fun on Sundays trying those great London restaurants with your Mom and Dad! I have to tell you, I have never tried skate before!! Wow!! This looks amazing! Brava!!!

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 10:16 #

      Thank you – I am lucky, I have such happy childhood memories. You must try skate – it slides off the large bones and has such a lovely flavour. Even just fried in butter with a squeze of lemon juice!

  4. Mad Dog August 14, 2011 at 01:11 #

    Lovely looking Skate! I too was lucky to be taken to restaurants as a child and really appreciated proper food (I was never one for beans, fish fingers and chips anyway).

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 10:18 #

      I do remember once complaining to my parents that I wanted to eat “proper” food like the other kids at school…I think I though I was missing out on something. Once I found out what I was missing out on, I happily reverted to pasta (especially when we were tight on cash) and grilled meats and vegetables Italian style 😉

  5. ChgoJohn August 14, 2011 at 04:52 #

    My father was in the restaurant business and, like you, we often dined in his friends’ places and, also like you, we never ordered from the kid’s menu. Living so far inland, the only place I’d find skate is on a menu. If I see one now, thanks to you, I’ll be able to fillet it & cook it. Skate beware!

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 10:19 #

      I guess we started to appreicate good food early on – how lucky we were! Do give skate a go if you ever see it…maybe frozen? Not sure how it would freeze, it is quite a sturdy fish though.

  6. TheDorsetFinca August 14, 2011 at 08:38 #

    Love this recipe. You’re right, skate can look a bit daunting at the start. I now know how to sort it out – thank you!

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 10:20 #

      It´s not very pretty to start with (but not as ugly as monkfish). Seems like the ugly ones are the tastiest!

  7. trevorhunt August 14, 2011 at 09:29 #

    I will definitely have to give Skate another go. You make it look too easy. And those Capers! Giants indeed. Restaurants in Soho in the 70’s ‘eh! Nope, can’t beat that. My only Soho experience in the 70’s as a kid was for a load of us to pile into a strip show where l saw my first naked lady!! Strange days indeed!

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 10:21 #

      Am laughing here! We did used to get rushed past “certain” establishments while my younger brother used to drag his heels and try to look at the posters of the “naughty girls”!!

  8. thecompletecookbook August 14, 2011 at 10:35 #

    I haven’t eaten skate wings in the longest time – my Mom used to fry them for us when we we were youngsters. What a lovely memory.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

  9. gardenfreshtomatoes August 14, 2011 at 13:40 #

    I LOVE skate, but unfortunately, it’s a tough sell in the markets around here. In my former incarnation as a seafood retailer, I tried to develop a local market for it, doing tastings and demos whenever possible – no dice. Now that I’m not in the buisness anymore, I almost never find it for sale…

    Great ‘how-to’ photos for filleting… Wish Americans weren’t so terrified of fish with the bones still in.

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 16:05 #

      Ooh – sounds like you have done lots of interesting things! Shame you can´t get hold of it easily 😦

  10. Karen August 14, 2011 at 13:47 #

    You never see skate in the fish markets here and only occasionally on the menus in our restaurants. We do enjoy it when we travel in Europe, as it is often on the menus.

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 16:06 #

      In the UK it used to be a cheap fish – not so now. Seems to be disappearing gradually and I don´t know why.

  11. JamieAnne August 14, 2011 at 15:16 #

    I’ve got to confess that I’ve been guilty of making something different for my kids a time or two. Not any time recently, but a few times when they were really young.

    This looks really tasty! I’ve got two mostly non-fish eaters in my house. It’s my husband and my son. They will eat salmon, talipia and catfish. That’s it. I could probably make this with tilapia.

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 16:07 #

      And I don´t blame you! I think what I meant was that way back then there was no such thing as a kiddies menu (just smaller portions!). Think this would be good with any firm fish. And at the end of the day, you have to cook what makes your family happy becuase you love them 🙂

  12. Tandy August 14, 2011 at 15:54 #

    when we were in Devon we ate ray knobs – the lovely bit of flesh left over when the skate wings are cut. They were like scallops 🙂 Thanks for the link back, and for sharing a great memory 🙂

    • chicaandaluza August 14, 2011 at 16:08 #

      Have never heard of ray knobs (sounds cheeky!) must have been so delicious. And you´re welcome – loved your recipe too!

  13. Christina August 14, 2011 at 18:42 #

    I have never had skate before…it looks super tasty! 🙂

    • chicaandaluza August 15, 2011 at 10:26 #

      Didn´t realise how lucky I was as I now see that skate is not something you can get hold of everywhere. Maybe one day….?!

  14. thefooddoctor August 14, 2011 at 21:12 #

    That is one scary looking fish..I slaute you for your courage
    I loved the no kids menu rule..why should kids not enjoy everything the adults do 🙂

    • chicaandaluza August 15, 2011 at 10:27 #

      It is a bit scary looking I agree! And yay to children enjoying all the things we get to enjoy too!

  15. spicegirlfla August 15, 2011 at 01:01 #

    I enjoyed hearing of your childhood memories so many of mine are related to food! Now, I agree with thefooddoctor – this is one scary looking fish, but once cut with the wings only, it is actually so beautiful!

    • chicaandaluza August 15, 2011 at 10:28 #

      Thank you – I think a lot if us have “foodie” families, which is so lucky that we started early to appreciate all the wonderful things on offer. Skate does look a whole lot better when it´s just the wings, I agree!

  16. Michi August 15, 2011 at 15:52 #

    I don’t think I’ve ever had Skate before, and am always lost as to how to cook fish! This should be a bit inspirational…

    • chicaandaluza August 15, 2011 at 16:31 #

      This is nice even with a fillet of merluza or rosada…or some of the salsa verde which I see you´ve made too 🙂

  17. aida tour February 6, 2017 at 08:47 #

    thanks for sharing


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