The delicate flavour of the skate cheeks makes a beautiful combination with the crispy batter and the tangy caper mayonnaise. They have a delicious succulent texture and are as easy to cook as a scallop with similar fresh sweet flavours. This recipe has them in a light batter but they are equally good fried or baked. Serve them as a starter or lighter supper.

About Skate Cheeks

Skate cheeks, like monkfish and cod cheeks, are parts of a the fish that can often get discarded in the filleting process as if they were a type of fishy offal that can get thrown away back into the ocean, along with the heads and tails. Whilst Skate cheeks are a lesser-known cut of fish in the UK, they are popular in Europe, particularly in Spain. These tasty morsels are also known as Skate knobs (No giggling at the back please) .

Ingredients For Skate Cheeks In Tempura

Skate cheeks from Walter Purkis & Sons 5+ per person for supper dish 3+ for starter
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Flour for dusting

For The Tempura Batter

1 egg
250 ml cold water
120 g plain flour – sifted
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For The Mayonnaise

4 tblsp good quality Mayonnaise
1 tblsp capers chopped
Handful fresh dill roughly chopped
1/2 lemon juice squeezed
Chunky sea salt
Coarsely ground pepper
Optional – Add some extra spice with some chilli or smoked paprika

Cooking Method For Skate Cheeks In Tempura

With a sharp knife remove any small parts of cartilage or skin from the individual cheeks. Pat them dry.

Make the caper mayonnaise by combining  all of the ingredients together. This is a very flexible list of ingredients that you can readily customise to your personal preferences, experiment with extra spice from some dry or fresh chopped chilli, a smokey note from paprika works well too.

Heat your oil in a deep pan or wok use a thermometer and look for a temperature of 180°C.

While the oil is heating make the tempura batter (it needs no resting) in is ready to go right away.  Break the egg into the bowl and whisk, then add the cold water. Add in the flour and bicarbonate turn in gently with a fork. Keep the lumps and bumps intact this will make the batter lighter and add those typical tempura crispy flares.

Dust the cheeks with some flour, dip in the batter and fry for 2 to 3 minutes until turning golden brown.. Cook in small batches to keep up the oil temperature, allow the heat to recover between batches. Remove the cheeks with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve right away with the dip.