Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Poached Skate with Celery

I remember when I was a kid that we used to throw skates back when we went fishing off the coast of Cape Cod or Rhode Island. They were barbed and weird and God knows, who in the hell would eat that? 

Well, I would.
Skate is a great fish. 
Normally, I just do skate in brown butter with capers, but my wife's been on a non-dairy diet, so this time we're sticking with oil.  I did throw some animal fat in there to keep the olive oil from full-on burning, but I did keep to the non-dairy beyond that.


  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 2 Tb duck fat (or clarified butter)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder
  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced; reserve celery leaves
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 2 skate wings
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 c. picpoul de pinet or other white wine with good acidity
  • 6 large capers
  • 12 olives (green or black)
  • 3/4 c. spinach leaves
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c. parsley, halved


  • In a large saute pan, heat the oils over moderate heat until just aromatic.
  • Add the garlic, red pepper, celery seed and amchoor powder and saute 1 minute.

  • Add the celery stalk and leek and continue to saute for 3 minutes until the leeks and celery are on their way to softness.

  • Add the skate on top of the leeks and celery, sprinkle the celery seed, and saute for 1 minute - just so it starts to cook and change its texture.
  • Add the cup of wine, capers, olives, and bring to a simmer.  Continue to cook for 2 minutes.  If you dare, you may flip the fairly fragile skate at this point.

  • Add the spinach and cherry tomatoes, and lightly stir until the greens are wilted and the skate is poached nicely - perhaps another minute or two.
  • Add the parsley and reserved celery leaves and stir into poaching liquid.  Crack some pepper and sprinkle some salt over the mixture.  Turn off the heat and serve.
Lat time, I served this with some home made hash browns, sauted in olive oil, and sprinkled with herbes de Provence.  Works and it's quick.

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