Skate with black butter is a classic dish. Quick to prepare and cook it makes a really tasty meal. It’s a good looking dish for a dinner or entertaining friends.
Rest assured on the plate Skate with Black Butter is far more brown than black and the herbs and capers make an attractive and appetising green finish for your presentation.
Skate are part of the Ray family of fish. They are a distinctive flat fish with a long whip-like tail. It is the large pectoral fins that they use to swim with that you see on the fishmongers counter. It has a firm white tasty flesh pink in parts with a layer of cartilaginous “bone” that makes it easy to prepare and eat.
Skate have a darker camouflaged upper skin and a white underside. Ask in the shop to have any skin removed – it can be an awkward job at home.
This recipe will serve two and you should allow about 40 minutes for preparation and cooking.
Skate with Black Butter Ingredients
1 Large Skate Wing from Walter Purkis & Sons (cut in half) (2 smaller ones will work too)
A good bunch of flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
2 or 3 Bay leaves
Juice of half a lemon
Glass of White Wine
3 tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar
100g of Butter
Sea Salt and freshly ground Pepper for seasoning
Cooking Method for Skate with Black Butter
Place your two skate portions in a pan large enough to get both alongside each other and lying flat. Once cooked they will hold their shape – curly is not so good on the plate.
Cover the Skate with water and add the wine, vinegar and lemon juice. Also add in the Bay Leaves and whole peppercorns these will all give depth of flavour to the poached fish. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer very gently.
This will only take about 5 minutes longer for thicker portions – you can test the fish to see if it cooked by pressing the flesh. It is cooked when firm.
While the Skate is cooking prepare the sauce. Place the butter into a small saucepan over a medium heat and heat until melted. Keep heating until it is just turning a light brown in colour (This is where the name is rather misleading!). Add in the chopped Parsley (keep a small amount to one side for the final presentation) and the Capers. Season with the pepper and salt.
Place the individual Skate portions on the plate and pour over the sauce. Finish with the remaining Parsley.
Serving Suggestions for Skate with Black Butter
This goes very well with some spinach and a few small roasted potatoes