Skate are bottom-dwelling fish that look something like a cross between a fish and a sting ray. These fish are a member of the ray family, a cousin of sharks, with pectoral fins that are so large that they appear to be wings, hence the term "skate wing." Most people never realize the resemblance to a wing, as skate wing is usually purchased skinned and filleted.
Skate wing has long been a favorite in French culture and is becoming increasingly popular with American cooks as they discover its moist mouthfeel and succulent flavor. Skate wing in brown butter was the first way I learned to cook these odd relatives of the shark. Saltwater anglers catch lots of skates while looking for other fish, and they are perfectly tasty once you skin them, remove the tough centerline of cartilage and cook them gently. This French-inspired skate wing with brown butter recipe keeps things simple, but delicious, so the flavor of the skate can truly stand out.
- 4 skate wings (filleted and skinned, about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons flour (for dusting, as needed)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- Salt to taste
- Garnish: 2 tablespoons chives (finely chopped)
1. Take the skate wings out of the refrigerator and salt lightly. Let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a pan over high heat for three minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan.
3. Meanwhile, dredge the skate wings in flour and shake off the excess. Fry in the butter over medium heat, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Be careful when turning, their odd muscle structure makes them difficult to flip without breaking.
4. Remove the skate wings to a warm oven and add the 2 other tablespoons of butter. Cook over medium heat until the butter is a light brown.
5. Add the wine (it will splatter, so be careful). Scrape any bits that may have stuck to the bottom and cook off the alcohol, about 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Sauce the skate wings, garnish with the chives and serve immediately.
- When making skate wing with brown butter, or any other variation, don't over cook skate wings or they will become rubbery.
- Skate wing with brown butter goes well with simple rice dishes or mashed potatoes.
- For a wine pairing, try a Sancerre or a Greek Assyrtiko.
Skate with Capers and Brown Butter. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/skate-with-capers-and-brown-butter
Wang, C. (n.d.). The Nasty Bits: Skate Wing. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/the-nasty-bits-skate-wing.html