Heart and Sole

Pan Sauteed Skate with Classic Menuiere Sauce
Trying to get a jump start on planning a Valentine's Day dinner often means coming up with a menu days--if not weeks in advance. Shopping pre-Valentine's Day for either a gift or food can be nightmarish at best, so I like to have my ducks in a row early on.

Never one to follow the crowd, I won't be stalking the butcher for the best looking filets or strips, nor will I be haggling with the fishmonger over the choicest lobsters or crabs, instead, while my competition swarms, I plan on quietly sliding down the length of the seafood display until I reach one of my all time favorites, and often overlooked, delicacies--skate.

Skate fish isn't very popular in the U.S., but in countries such as France it makes a regular appearance on many menus. I first discovered it many years ago when Mr. B and I spontaneously stopped at a Saturday morning fish market in a neighboring seaside town. Mr. B, who spent a good bit of time traveling through France, pointed it out and convinced me to give it a try. Honestly, since Mr. B is such as accomplished poissoneur, I hardly needed any convincing at all. Turns out, skate is delicately flavored and very much, in my opinion, like sole.

In New Orleans, one of the most popular preparations for fresh fish is to pan sautee it and top it with a classic Menuiere sauce, which is really nothing more than a brown butter sauce with lemon, capers, and parsley. Always one of my favorite ways to eat fish, preparing skate in this manner makes for an incredibly satisfying and delicious meal, especially when served with Crispy Oven Fries, a tossed green salad, and a large glass of chilled white wine.

I guess that settles my indecision over what to get Mr. B for Valentine's Day. I think he'd like a big piece of skate--I know I would!

Skate Menuiere
1 skate wing*
1 whole lemon, juiced
handful of chopped parsley
1 heaping teaspoon of capers (with juice)
Worcestershire sauce

1. Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter to a cast iron skillet and heat until butter is hot and frothy.
2. Dredge the skate wing in flour, shaking to remove any excess.
3. Gently fry the skate int he hot butter until golden brown, turning only once. When the fish is golden and cooked, remove it from the pan and set it on a plate; keep warm.
4. Add a chunk of butter to the pan drippings--about 6 tablespoons--and increase the heat.
5. Once the butter is melted and begins to froth, add lemon juice, capers, and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce; cook for 1 minute; add parsley and cook until parsley softens--about 30 seconds.
6. Immediately pour sauce over cooked skate and serve.

*Like shark, skate needs to be 'bled' and properly dressed, so make sure to purchase from a reputable fish monger.


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