Fish Recipes: Skate with Black Butter Recipe
Skate is one of the few fish that should not be eaten as soon as it is caught. Gelatinous by nature, a gluey coating sticks to the fish for about 12 hours after it is out of the water. After that it can be rinsed off, though the fish will feel sticky and will smell slightly of ammonia. This however is quite normal, the smell does not mean the fish is off – but rather that it is ready for cooking – and the smell will disappear in that process.
- 6 pieces skate wing, about 250 g/8 oz each, preferably middle strips
- 12 litres/2 pints cold water
- 4 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 5 cm/2 inch piece lemon rind
- 1 onion, sliced
- 12 white peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1 carrot sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 125 g/4 oz unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Rinse the fish in cold water.
- Make a court bouillon with the cold water, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, the lemon rind, onion, peppercorns, carrot and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool. This will take about 30 minutes (plunging the pan into a basin of very cold water speeds up the process). If you do this however, be careful of the steam.
- Put the fish in one layer in a large pan. Strain the cooled bouillon over, and slowly bring to the boil. Allow to bubble for 5 seconds, then cook over the lowest possible heat — the liquid should barely simmer – for 12—15 minutes until the fish is cooked. Transfer the fish to a hot serving dish.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook over a medium heat until a deep golden colour (despite the name the butter should not turn black—when it would be burnt). Cook for a few seconds only, then pour it over the fish.
- Quickly pour the remaining vinegar into the pan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Stir in the capers and chopped parsley and pour over the fish immediately. Serve very hot with a selection of vegetables.