Pan-Fried Skate Wings with Capers

Pan-Fried Skate Wings with Capers


It is remarkable how common skate has become on restaurant menus. Its not yet well known to home cooks. Skate is a delectable fish with a mild flavor and-if cooked properly- delicate texture. Incorrectly prepared, it can be tough and fibrous. A kind of ray, it has a flat body and a short, spineless tail. It is found in oceans worldwide, weighing an where from several pounds to 2 tons. The wings are the only edible portion.

Skate improves when left to stand refrigerated for a day or two. As it matures, the flesh becomes firmer and more palatable. When purchased, it has usually been aged slightly.

This is the first skate recipe I learned as a young cook. It is a classic, still popular today. It calls for dredging the skate wings in milk and flour and then sautéing them in butter or oil. A quick caper-butter sauce is then made and poured over the fish.


4 boneless, skinless skate wings
(about 1-1/2 pounds total)
1/2 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour for dredging
3 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sweet red peppers,
cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/3 cup drained capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley


1. Put the skate fillets in a dish large enough to hold them in one layer. Pour the milk over them and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the fillets in the milk so they are coated on both sides.

2. Scatter the flour over a large dish. Lightly dredge the fillets on both sides in the flour.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high setting. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the fillets. If it is necessary to do this in two batches, use the same oil. Sauté on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until golden brown, about 3 minutes more. When the fillets are done, transfer them to a warm platter or serving plate.

4. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and return it to the heat. Melt the butter and add the red peppers, shaking the pan frequently until the butter turns light brown. Add the capers, cook briefly, and add the shallots, vinegar, and parsley. Cook briefly then stir and pour the sauce over each fillet evenly. Serve immediately.