I’ve always been fond of skate, and it probably has little to do with the fact that I’m surprised to learn over and over again just how much the taste is unlike that of most any other fish. But it does, and it is. Prepared along the lines of an old Mark Bittman posting in the New York Times, tonight’s entree both looked and tasted very little like fish and more like very light whipped potatoes dribbled with a delicate but complex brown sauce (gravy). Bittman writes that halibut steaks and fillets, or most any other firm, white-fleshed fish will respond to the same treatment, “but the substitution is not perfect”.
Tonight it was perfect; the fish was very fresh, the other ingredients in its preparation just about the best possible.
The accompaniments were mostly a matter of what looked good in the market (Manhattan Fruit), and although they seem to me now an odd choice, they worked very well together. I think we were dining somewhere in Savoy/Savoie/Savoia/Savoyen.
Have you ever noticed how a skate wing, when stretched to its limit, looks exactly like the wing of a bird? This afternoon was a first for me.
- locally-caught skate fillet (one wing, expertly separated from the cartilage by the fish seller at Lobster Place inside Chelsea Market) quickly sauteed in a pan and removed, with butter and [Linden] honey added to the pan first, swirled briefly until browned, followed by some very large Lipari capers (Buon Italia, also in Chelsea Market) swirled into the pan, the thickened sauce then poured over the fish and the pan returned to the range where a few drops of Chardonnay vinegar were added, swirled and also poured over the fish, which was then garnished with some chopped parsley and lovage; baked pommes frites (medium red new potatoes); sauteed cavolo nero (black cabbage)
- wine: Sauvignon Blanc, a white Loire (Chavignol), Petit Bourgeois 2008 from Henri Bourgeois