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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Skate wings... what the heck are these?

So, skate wings... what exactly are these?  Skate wings are cousins of the shark.  They contain cartilage instead of bone.  The cartilage is edible and certain recipes do call for a whole wing instead of skinned and filleted.  These are relatively unknown fish around the US.  I myself haven't heard of this fish until I visited Chappeau in San Francisco, CA.  There, I instantly fell in love with the skate fish.

The skate fish has always been on my mind since then.  It's moist, meaty texture and the amount of flavor the chef was able to apply to the fish.  Finally, I walked into a Korean market to pick up stuff for soon dubu (Korean Tofu Soup) and walked out with more than I expected.

So my first reaction when I plopped this on my cutting board... "what the hell do I do with this?"  Well, I recalled my dinner at Chappeau and remembered Chef Philippe Gardelle explaining how he quickly pan seared it.  By the way, if you haven't had a chance to visit Chappeau in San Francisco, treat yourself to one of the best meals ever and enjoy Chef Gardelle's company and hospitality there.  I don't remember the details as we were pretty drunk off wine (plus more) by the end of dinner when we had a chance to speak with the Chef Gardelle, but I just remember being really shocked.  I expected the fish to have been braised.  It was just so tender and juicy... no way it was a simple pan fry.  But he said that was all there is too it.  So there you have it.  Pan frying the skate it is.

Directions for the skate and ingredients needed:

You'll need (serves 4):
1 whole skate wing, skinned and cut into 4 fillets
Flour for dredging
4 tbs butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup wine
2 tbs capers
Sea salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the fillets and dredge in lightly in flour

Heat up a frying pan over medium to medium high heat.  Add in 1 tbs olive oil and 4 tbsp butter.  When the butter has gotten frothy, add in the fish fillets, presentation side down first.

Fry both sides for 3 minutes each, and remove from pan.  Deglaze pan with white wine and let the alcohol cook off.  Be careful as the flambe may burn eyebrows.  Add in the lemon juice and capers and cook for another minutes.  Add in half the parsley (leave the other half for garnish) and add the skate wings back in.  Cook for another 30 seconds and plate.  Garnishing with the rest of the parsley.  Serve with more lemon if desired.  And that's it... you're done!