Friday, April 9, 2010

Steve Irwin's Revenge

Looks horrible, doesn't it? But looks can be deceiving.

What is it? Skate. Every now and then, my fish monger has skate wings. Yes, they look pre-historic, but they also always look very fresh. They remind me of the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin, even though I know it was a different devil-like underwater flyer that killed him.

"He's a beauty, eh?"

Several weeks ago, I put aside any concern about appearance and decided to give skate a try. Maybe I'd avenge Steve by eating the evolutionary cousin of the fish that sent him to the great croc hunt in the sky.

The store cleaned the fish for me, removing the cartilage and leaving four long fillets. Even though the fillets were relatively thin, they were firm. Instead of flakes, the flesh consisted of lines up and down the length of the wing.

Different. I decided on a simple saute. I melted about a tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. After salting and peppering the wings, I dusted them in flour and put them in the pre-heated pan.

The fillets cooked well, but curled at the edges. On my second cooking, I laid a pot lid on the top to force the flesh into the hot butter and oil. This worked well, although it took off a little of the flour.

After about five minutes, I flipped the fillets. After another five minutes, I checked and the meat was still underdone, the surface a little too soft. Concerned, they would fall apart, I carefully flipped them again, but they held together well. In a couple of minutes, the flour browned and I had a really nice crust. I turned a final time, seared a crust on the last side and served.

I've done this recipe twice and found that you really do need to turn the fillets twice. Don't worry. They stay together as long as you're careful.

The taste: outstanding. The flesh was firm, but tender with a unique taste. The first time I made them, I laid out lemon, but my wife and I quickly concluded it was unnecessary. Salt, pepper, flour, plus a little butter and olive oil was all the skate needed.

One caution. Be careful not to overcook. The second time I made the fillets, they came out slightly overcooked and a little stringy, although still delicious.

A final note. My fish guy gave me too much so I froze some. It froze beautifully, losing virtually none of its taste and texture after a week-plus the freezer.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting! I would never have been so bold as to buy--and cook!--skate. I'm inspired.