Skate has a beautifully refined flavour and all the springiness of lobster. Its flat, diamond shape offers two fan-shaped fillets that look like ribbed angel wings. It is one of the easiest fish to cook, as long as you cook it on the bone to stop it falling apart. I always used to eat skate pan-fried and doused with brown butter and capers, then this variation came about when I had no capers to hand, so I reached for a jar of lime pickle instead. I have ONLY cooked it this way ever since. The pickle adds both sharpness and saltiness, enhancing the skate’s delicate flesh. Serve with a pile of tempura samphire, as here – or simply blanch the samphire in boiling water, drain well and then pan-fry in butter.
Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Photography: Kristin Perers
Food Styling: Joss Herb & Lizzie Kamenetzky, assisted by Hattie Arnold
Prop styling: Tabitha Hawkins
2 skate wings
75g unsalted butter
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 heaped tbsp lime pickle, pounded with a pestle and mortar until smooth
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Sea salt and black pepper
For the tempura samphire
2 sheets toasted nori
80g plain flour
1 heaped tbsp cornflour, plus extra for dredging
Ice-cold sparkling water
Groundnut oil, for deep-frying 200g samphire
Preheat the oven to 110°C/90°C fan/gas mark 1⁄4.
Rinse the skate wings and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper, then season with salt and pepper. Melt 25g of the butter and the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan. When the butter is sizzling, add the skate wings, fleshier side down, and fry for 5 minutes until the flesh is opaque and the skin is golden brown. Gently flip over and cook on the less-fleshy side for 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking tray and keep warm in the oven.
Wipe out the frying pan, add the remaining butter and melt over high heat. When it starts to go brown, quickly stir in the lime pickle and follow with the lemon juice. Take off the heat and stir through the coriander.
For the tempura samphire, using scissors, cut the nori into pieces and blitz to a powder in a blender or spice mill. Tip into a large bowl, add both flours and mix well. Gradually whisk in just enough sparkling water to make a thin batter, being careful not to overmix.
Fill a large, heavy- based saucepan a third full with the deep-frying oil. Heat the oil to 180°C – if you don’t have a thermometer, you will know the oil is ready when a cube of bread turns golden brown in 20 seconds. Working in batches, dredge the samphire in cornflour, then dip in the batter and deep-fry in the hot oil for about 3 minutes or until crisp and golden, allowing the oil to return to temperature between batches. Drain on kitchen paper.
Put the fish onto serving plates and spoon over the lime pickle brown butter. Serve with the tempura samphire.
Ravinder writes as beautifully and eloquently as she speaks, telling stories of people, places and identity through food. Her own history and cultural background comes through in each recipe and the bold flavours she brings together. Recipe taken from Jikoni: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from an Immigrant Kitchen by Ravinder Bhogal (£26, Bloomsbury). Photography © Kristin Perers.