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
Milk
Butter
Basil

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

Method:
- 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.

Variations:
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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