tomato/chili-roasted skate, mustard/caper sauce; chard

I’ve been cooking skate wing for decades, but at least since initiating this food blog I’ve always resisted preparing it in the only way it seems everyone knows it, mostly because it is the only way everyone knows it: sautéed in brown butter and served with capers.

Last night, for a fresh thick un-filleted skate wing (a left-wing, I figure), to make it easy on myself, and to make it quick, I turned to a recipe that included the capers, as well as something that looked and tasted a bit like brown butter, but wasn’t.

It really was easy, and pretty quick, but it was also a much richer dish than the classic (I improvised a bit on the basic recipe I had found, and I also had some other great comestibles to work with).

Oh, although it probably wasn’t necessary, as the skate wing was a bit on the small side, I also bought half a dozen scallops while at the fish stand. although I didn’t know what I was going to do with them until I had started preparing the meal. Only while writing this post did I realize that in grilling them and placing them next to the skate I may have summoned up the old ‘fish story’ (surely apocryphal) about unscrupulous fish sellers sometimes using cookie cutters to create scallops out of skate wings, which is the much cheaper catch on any day.

  • one large green heirloom tomato from Eckerton Hill Farm, sliced horizontally into 6 sections, tossed gently inside a shallow bowl with less than a tablespoon of olive oil and less than one crushed peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia, arranged inside a medium glazed ceramic oven pan and roasted for about 10 minutes, after which one whole skate wingfrom American Seafood Company (unfilleted, but with the bone removed from the end where it was attached to the body), seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, transferred to the pan, moving the tomatoes to one side, and roasted for another 15 minutes or so, when a mixture of a tablespoon of olive oil, half a tablespoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and more than a half tablespoon of rinsed salted Sicilian capers, a section of 2 different finely chopped seasoning peppers, a small aji dulce pepper and a small (sweet) yellow Grenada seasoning pepper, both from Eckerton Hill Farm, that had been whisked together, was poured over the fish and tomatoes, the pan returned to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, removed, its contents arranged on the plates, the tomatoes next to the skate, 3 sea scallops, also from American Seafood Company, that had been generously seasoned with salt and pepper and briefly pan-grilled, placed on top of the tomatoes, lemon quarters placed to the side of the plates

  • a large number of loose chard leaves from Keith’s Farm wilted inside a a large enameled cast iron pot in a couple tablespoons of Portuguese olive oil, a house brand of Whole Foods Market, in which 2 gently crushed and halved rocambole garlic cloves, also from Keith’s Farm, had first been heated and softened slightly, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, finished with a little lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil
  • the wine was from California (Napa Valley), Matt Iaconis Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017, from Naked Wines
  • the music was the album, ‘L’Anonyme Parisien‘, works by the French baroque composer, Charles Dollé