In weight and mouthfeel, salmon is like steak. Cod is like chicken. And skate is like pulled pork -- juicy, stringy, and moist even if you don't know what you're doing.
Of all the real-life edible sea monsters, skate is my favorite. It's hard to find a recipe for skate that's not skate meuniere, a sort of "every-fish" recipe of lemon, capers and browned butter. But skate is more than just another white fish and I treated this lovable monster with a special, slightly mysterious crust of tarragon, almond and oat flour. Like a good sandwich, the crust was aromatic, hard, toasted, and the meat tender and compliant. The tarragon is the "x factor", an herbal licoriced melody that is the opposite of the classic, if boring, meuniere.
Unlike other fish, where the meat requires a tweezing of the spindly skeleton, skate meat just rests on a bed of soft and thick wing bones. All you have to do is scrape it off with the edge of your fork. I served this with the mild funk of a Turnip, Parsnip and White Yam Mash and market-approved Roasted Radishes and Greens with Raisins. My friend Jeff said he felt like he had stumbled into a secret restaurant with an amazing menu. Actually, I'd love to do an underground restaurant. Maybe when the book is all revised and the files are at the printer.
Skate Recipe: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place four skate wings on baking sheet and pat dry. Add to food processor 1/2 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup almond flour, one small fishful of tarragon leaves, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pulse until well blended then add paste to skate. Drizzle skate with additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Turnip, Parsnip and White Yam Mash Recipe: Dice 4 parsips, 1 white turnip, and 1 large white yam. Add to pot with 1/2 cup of water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Steam until soft, adding water as necessary. Mash in blender. Add diced scallions. If your main needs some onstage support, consider adding curry or five-spice. Serves 4-6.
Roasted Radishes and Greens with Raisins Recipe: Buy two sets of radishes at the greenmarket. They are a dollar each now. Roast radishes, 3 carrots, and 2 onions at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until golden, about 40 minutes. Sautee the greens with olive oil, salt and pepper. When the vegetables are done, add to radish greens with a drizzle of balsamic. Add raisins. Serves 4-6.
NOTE: I am knee-deep in book revisions and plunging deeper every day. Blogging will be slow for awhile. Rest assured, I will be eating very interesting, photogenic things with easy recipes that any one can do. I just won't be telling you about it.