This classic dish has a misleading name - the butter should turn a toasty caramel brown rather than black. Large, flat skate is ideal for frying: as it cooks, the pink-tinged flesh turns white with a firm, meaty texture. Once cooked, the flesh flakes away easily from the cartilaginous bones with the help of a fork. Serve with Waitrose Colcannon and steamed green beans.
Skate with Black Butter and Capers
- 2 small fresh skate wings, 200g-225g each
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 75g unsalted butter
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 tbsp Waitrose Select Spanish Nonpareille Capers, rinsed and drained
- ½ pack fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse the skate wings and use kitchen paper to dry thoroughly. Place the flour onto a dinner plate and season. Lightly dust both sides of the fish with the flour and shake to remove any excess.
- Melt 25g of the butter in a large frying pan and fry the skate wings on a medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, until the flesh is firm and white and the skin is golden. Transfer to warm serving plates, cover with foil and keep warm.
- Return the pan to a medium heat, add the remaining butter and cook until it turns caramel brown and smells nutty: be careful not to let it burn. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, whole capers and flat-leaf parsley. Check the seasoning. Pour the butter over the skate and serve immediately.
When frying fish, always place in a hot pan to seal in the juices, then reduce the heat once it is turned.
Adding a little oil to the butter prevents it from burning and spoiling the delicate flavour of the fish.
If your frying pan is too small to cook both fish at the same time, cook them one at a time and keep warm.
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Cooking time: 10 minutes
- Total time: 15 minutes
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This recipe was first published in January 2003.