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World Supper Adventure

Inviting myself to dinner, around the world, to bring recipes and tales of great hospitality home to you.

It’s time for a recipe, I know it and I have not forgotten.

I’m not going to lie to you, I really wanted to buy hammour during my visit, it’s a fish native to the region that happens to be very delicious. But as you know, if you paid attention in part 1, it’s on the over-fished list, so no hammour for me. What do you do if you can’t have your first choice? You remember how much you love the classic french dish Skate Meunière and you buy a skate wing!

First things first, of course. Skate are cartilaginous fish (they have skeletons made of cartilage, not bone). They’re related to rays, which is obvious just by looking at them, and sharks, which is obvious when you touch their skin. They’re kite-shaped flat fish with large wings; these wings are the edible part. Saltwater anglers catch tons of skate when they’ve intended to catch other fish and are often, unfortunately, referred to as “garbage fish”. But they’re VERY tasty.

Skate is a delicious, mild, slightly sweet fish that isn’t at all fishy (when it’s fresh, of course). Not to mention it has a very unique muscle structure that looks very pretty on your plate; kind of like corduroy.

If you do find skate already filleted, lucky you. Lazy you, but lucky you non-the-less. Dealing with countless pieces of cartilage in non-filleted pieces of skate can be a real pain. But, challenges are fun, aren’t they?

Skate Belly!

Slicing off my Wing

My skate wing filleting experience (well, the gentlemen who filleted the skate wing for me’s experience) was gruesome, bloody, and awkward.  It was a first time for all,  so I’m going to spare you my own personal photos.  This guy‘s the one to follow for this step, he seems to know what he’s doing.  Do what he does.  Be careful, though, they don’t have the fish skin you’re used to, it’s tough like a shark.

I wanted to prepare the skate fillets in a classic french style, but it turns out Dubai hates capers, I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I chopped up some nice salty green olives into caper-sized pieces.  It was just as, if not more, delicious, so you pick what you’d like to do.  If you’ve had this dish before, maybe you should try it with olives.  If this is your first time, though, stick with the classic I suppose? You definitely won’t be disappointed either way, so don’t stress out over the decision, that would be ridiculous.

Skate Meunière (Skate with Browned Butter and Capers)
(Serves 4)

Preheat your oven to 200ºFCut your (filleted) skate into 4 equal 1/2 pound piecesSeason 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper and dredge* both sides of each fillet, shaking off the excess.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium flame.  Add 1 TB each of olive oil and butter, swirling to mix as the butter melts. Place 2 skate fillets in your pan (all four if they fit, but please don’t crowd them. To say the least, that would just be inconsiderate…and make for difficult flipping) and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Turn carefully  (here’s where you’ll be glad you didn’t crowd your pan) with a wide spatula and cook on the second side until just cooked through.  About 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer fillets to an oven-safe plate and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining two fillets.  Add more oil and butter to the skillet, if necessary. Transfer your second batch of fillets to the oven also.

Wipe (don’t wash) your skillet clean and return to the flame.  Melt 4 TB of butter (unsalted is best here, you’ll get your salt from the capers) in the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, plate your skate fillets. Add the juice and zest* of  1 lemon, 3 TB capers (or chopped olives), and 1 (generous) TB parsley to the skillet and keep stirring. Brace yourself! The lemon juice will make the pan spatter like crazy. That’s supposed to happen, just be careful.  Only keep this on the heat for a few seconds.

You’re finished!  Turn off the heat and spoon the sauce over the plated fillets. Serve immediately.  I think you’ll like this so much.  It might just be my mood today, but this dish would be great with a side of roasted potatoes and asparagus.  You’ve probably earned the right to make that decision for yourself, I’m sure.

Thanks for sticking by my side through that trilogy!  I think it made for a fun ride.


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