Saturday, 14 November 2009

Roasted Skate with cherry tomatoes

I return home on Friday the 13th to find the boy has conjured up a beautiful meal for the two of us. A feast of steamed artichoke with garlic butter to start followed by skate and scallops for main. Yum! Underestimating the size of skate wings, we had some left over so I decided to try my hand this time. I haven't tried to cook skate before and I must confess - I don't think I've eaten it before. It's a strange, slippery piece of fish with a fine lacy edge. Be sure to cook yours when it fresh from the fishmonger otherwise it adopts a nasty taste. It also has some slightly strange cartiledge in the middle of the wing to look out for. Not a major hazard but could get stuck between your teeth!

Roasted Skate with Cherry Tomatoes and Parsnip Mash

Makes: a delicious and fresh fish-based main in less than half an hour

Ingredients: (for two)
2 Skate wings (has cartiledge in the middle - watch out!)
Generous handful of cherry tomatoes (or normal ones if you have none)
One red pepper
3 Parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
Small piece of Parmesan cheese

For the dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp (red wine) vinegar
2 tsp Dill & Mustard Sauce (or dijon mustard
5 capers, chopped

- Heat oven to 180C, boil half a kettle of water.
- Deseed and chop pepper. (If using normal tomatoes, quarter.) Mix in a bowl with tomatoes and drizzle with oil.
- Place on a baking tray, spread out nicely and roast for 10 minutes, stiring gently and occasionally.
- Heat a frying pan on a high heat with some oil. When smoking, add each skate wing and brown for a minute on both sides. It may stick slightly, don't worry if this happens.
- Move the vegetables to one side on the baking tray and place the skate wings on the tray. Roast for a further 10 - 12 minutes.
- While this is cooking, boil parsnips in just enough water to cover on a medium heat for around 10 minutes or until soft.
- While you wait, mix together all of the dressing ingredients and set to one side.
- Remove the baking tray from the oven and put to one side, covered. Bung plates in the still warm oven now, if you wish.
- Drain and mash the parsnips. They will not become as smooth as potato but keep mashing until you've minimised lumps. Add a knob of butter and stir in with a spoon. Add a dash of milk to bring together and grate a little Parmesan into the mash. Season and stir well.
- Plate the skate with a dollop of mash next to it. Drizzle the roasted veg with dressing and ripped basil. Stir well and pile on top of the fish.

This could be done with any firm while fish. Haddock would also work well. If you don't have Parmesan, a little mature cheddar cheese might be nice or simply add a grating of nutmeg. Can be a starter by simply using one skate wing cut in two and two parsnips for the mash.

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