Just had a great two weeks in Greece, were I tried some fish I hadn’t before, including red mullet and gilthead… All very nice but I was a bit disappointed with with the prices of fish dishes in Skiathos, which were universally high. It worked out at around 40-70 Euro (per kg) for whole fish meaning that the smallest fish (not filleted) was going to cost you a minimum of around 12 Euro and more likely about 20-25.
Maybe my expectations were raised by the bargainous and quality seafood I previously had in Croatia and I guess the exchange rate is not what it used to be, but I was looking forward to getting back to my trusty local fishmonger.
I’d not tried skate before, so decided to give it a go. At £10.80 per kilo (about 13 Euros today) it was pretty bargainous, particularly having been fleeced in Greece.
I put something to gether partly using a great Rick Stein book and online research (nice little number by Jill Dupliex of the Sydney Morning Herald on Cuisine.com). It came out with the flesh falling away, very tast and the relish was a great compliment.
- Rinse and pat dry the skate. Lightly season with paprika and salt and pepper
- Put 8 new potatoes on to boil. At the same time put 10 small cherry tomatoes (coated in olive oil) in the corner of a baking tray which is large enough to carry both skate as well
- Five minutes later, have ready a hot large frying pan (in fact using two might help if they’re big skate wings). Add olive oil and butter – let the butter get going and beginning to brown. Add the skate. The aim is to brown the skate, not cook it (its akward enough to handle uncooked). About two and a half minutes each side will be about right to achieve this.
- Now its been 10 minutes since the tomatoes went in the oven: add the skate. It’ll want about 11 minutes
- During this 10 mins, mix together capers (1 tbsp) dijon mustard (1 tsp) lemon juice (1 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsp) and maldon sea salt and pepper. Use the back of a spoon to crush the capers
- Keep an eye on the potatoes – if they’re ready early, drain and leave the lid on – you can also add a knob of butter and some seasoning
- Check the skate by pulling away some of the flesh in the middle – it should come away easily and show you that the inside is white, not translucent
- Add the tomatoes to the relish and mix in. Serve the dish by spooning the relish on top of the skate and over the potatoes
P.S. I never knew this, but those weird black things you puzzled over on the beach as a child – mermaid’s purses – are Skates’ eggs.