Fried Skate on Chickpeas and Roquette with
a Tomato and Black Olive Salsa
recipe comes from Chef Jim Fisher who now runs
cooking holidays in the Dordogne.
you would like to know more about Jim and how he gained
his love of cooking why not have a look at his biography
find out more about the cooking holidays in France at
Jim's cooking school in the Dordogne you will need to
visit his web site <click
said about this recipe:
never forget the first time I ate skate - it smelled
and tasted of bathroom cleaner. Why? Well, I later found
out that aficionados of skate demand that it be 'hung'
for several days prior to cooking. The resulting pungent
amoniac stench, produced by the breakdown of the flesh,
apparently improves the flavour. I think not; I don't
need my fish to taste of anything other than what it
is, barring the odd - appropriate - accompaniment.
is the perfect fish to serve to piscatory novices; the
flesh is firm and full-flavoured, and it lacks that
armoury of needle-like bones because the skeleton is
the meat is quite rich and gelatinous - no bad thing
in itself, but it does need something ascerbic as a
chaperone. Hence the salsa.
up the dish with the chick peas and roquette (rocket)
if you're hungry. One skate wing (half a whole skate)
will do as a portion.
chickpeas which have been soaked overnight in cold water
are best for this dish. You could use tinned ones at
a push, but they are often mushy and lack the firm nutty
texture of the dried variety. Simmer the plumped chickpeas
in plenty of unsalted water for half an hour, drain,
then either use straight away, or cool and keep in the
fridge for up to five days.
can replace the roquette with spinach leaves, if you
like ; rinse the leaves well, then blanch in boiling
unsalted water for thirty seconds only. Refresh in plenty
of really cold water, drain, then gently press in the
sieve to get rid of what will seem like gallons of water.
Use like the roquette in the recipe.
2 vine-ripe plum tomatoes
3 cm (2 in) piece cucumber
2 cloves garlic
12 black olives, pitted and halved
1 tbsp capers
2 to 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
200g (8oz) dried chickpeas, prepared as above
a large bunch of roquette (rocket) leaves
2 - 3 tbsp Crème Fraiche
four skate wings, skinned
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
and very finely dice the onion. De-seed the tomatos
and chop them into 0.5 cm (1/4 in) dice. Likewise,
dice the cucumber. Peel and very finely chop one clove
of garlic. Cut ultra-thin strips of zest from the
lemon and slice into fine julienne.
these five ingredients into a stainless steel or ceramic
bowl, then add the olives and capers. Add a squeeze
of lemon juice, some balsamic vinegar and some soy
it a mix, then taste ; it should be slightly ascerbic,
salty and guite powerful. Add more lemon juice, vinegar,
or soy if you feel it needs it. Stir in two or three
tablespoons of olive oil, cover and set aside to infuse.
and finely chop the remaining garlic clove. Heat a
little olive oil in a large frying pan set over a
medium heat and add the garlic. Lob in the prepared
chickpeas and toss to heat through. Skatter in the
roquette, tossing all the time until wilted, but not
overcooked - about one minute. Stir in the crème
fraiche, then season with salt and freshly ground
black pepper. Finally, squeeze in a little lemon juice.
skate is best when slightly undercooked, so get your
brain into gear before you put it in the pan - everything
else should be ready and waiting for this moment:
bring a large frying pan to a high heat - almost to
smoking point. Smear the skate wings with a little
olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground
black pepper. Add to the pan and fry for about two
minutes. Turn the wings over, then remove the pan
from the heat - the skate will continue to cook while
you assemble the dish.
a pile of chickpeas and roquette on four warmed serving
plates. Top each with a skate wing, then spoon some
salsa over the fish. Serve.