Skates are cartilaginous fish belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of rays. There are more than 200 described species in 27 genera. There are two subfamilies, Rajinae (hardnose skates) and Arhynchobatinae (softnose skates).
The classic preparation is poached skate with beurre noisette, or brown butter. It can be time-consuming, depending on whether you go for the traditional route. For example, some prefer making a fish fumet which will then be used as the poaching liquid.
Sautéing is an easier and quicker method. Cooked in this manner, skate wings develop a wonderful flavor and have a firm, meaty texture.
Pan-fried skate with brown butter, capers and lemon
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1 skate wing
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
3 T. flour
2 T. unsalted butter
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 T. salt-packed capers
juice of half a lemon
2 T. chopped parsley
Season skate wing generously with salt and pepper. Pour milk over fish and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
Spoon flour onto a plate. Lightly dredge skate on both sides.
Gently heat oil in a large skillet. Add the skate wing. Fry three minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer the fish to a warmed serving platter.
Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Quickly whisk in vinegar, capers, lemon juice and parsley. If you wait too long, the butter will burn so you’ll want to have the ingredients at the ready. Pour the brown butter sauce over the skate and serve at once.
Time: 30 minutes, including prep.
If skate is unavailable, substitute sole, flounder or halibut instead.