Skate wings with burned butter & capers

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Look, I know I don’t eat dairy but this is a sublime dish which cannot be made without it. Once in a while a little bit of what you fancy etc etc…

We have a new fish stall at the Wednesday Swiss Cottage market, from Blandford in Dorset to be precise. I remember going there for matches when at school in Lyme Regis. It’s a very pretty old town, not far from the sea. Anyway, the problem is that they don’t fillet or  do anything to the fish so you have to buy it as is. Caveat emptor!!!

I bought two delicious, fresh as fresh, skate wings – spotted skate, not the endangered species I hasten to add, as most skate (in fact its a kind of stingray) caught in our waters IS endangered, but this one isn’t – but THEY WEREN’T SKINNED. Related to the shark, skate, like its cousin, has an extremely thick and sticky skin which is impossible to get off without brute force. Most websites advocate pliers! Luckily Ross found another method but it took him an hour to detach these two wings from their outwear.

You can also poach skate wings in water and vinegar and add the burned butter afterwards, but I think the crunchy bits when you fry the wings make for a tastier supper. I don’t dust with flour either, as some recipes advocate. This was absolutely delicious, served with steamed pak choi and new potatoes, drizzled in olive oil

Serves 2

2  fresh skate wings, skinned
50g unsalted butter
30ml olive oil
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 tbsp small capers,  drained (dont worry aobut rising as the vinegary taste adds to the general deliciousness)
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon cut into segments, pips removed (squeeze the remainder of the flesh for juice) 


Rinse the skate wing and use kitchen paper to dry thoroughly. Season the skate wings on both sides.

Melt a quarter of the butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the skate wings on a medium heat for about 5 mins on the thicker side, until the flesh is firm and white and the skin is a light golden. Flip over carefully and cook for 3½ mins on the thinner fillet, or until cooked.

Transfer to warm serving plates and keep warm.

Return the pan to a high heat, add the remaining butter and cook until it turns light caramel brown and smells nutty: be careful not to let it burn.

Remove the pan from the heat and shake it as you add the lemon juice and capers, this will arrest the cooking of the butter—take care here as it will spit slightly.

Sprinkle the lemon segments and flat-leaf parsley over the fish, then spoon over the nut brown butter and serve immediately.


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