You are a fish person, I promise!

14 Jan

I never understood why some people don’t like fish. Especially fish like skate, which lack that “fishiness” folks seem to taste in mackerel and sardines. Skate’s delicate flesh and almost buttery texture lend themselves well to bitter-sweet flavor profiles. In this recipe, I threw together sweet currants and apples, with a bit of tart red currant jelly, the bite of red wine vinegar, and some bitter radicchio (what we call chicory in Britain) for a balanced finish.

Fish was one of the few foods not rationed in World War II Britain, so fish like skate were readily available in most areas. Eventually the price for fish went up, given the risk   

fishermen were taking to collect their catch, and the scarcity of protein in Britain. But it was never as controlled as meat, so it made a fairly cheap protein option for large families like my Granny’s. She quite fancies a bit of fish, she does. Smart lady.

Skate Wing with Sautéed Radicchio, Currants, Apples and Onions

2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1/2 large onion, sliced paper thin
1/3 radicchio, thinly sliced
1/2 apple, cut into batons
1 tablespoon currants
1 teaspoon red currant jelly
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 skate wing, removed from the bone.
Freshly ground black pepper
Finely chopped parsley
Heat the bacon drippings in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and sweat them. When they start to brown a little, lower the heat to medium and add the salt. Continue to heat until the onions are completely wilted and golden brown. Remove from the pan. In the same pan, wilt the radicchio and add the apple and currants. Sauté them all together, seasoning with salt and adding a splash of water to prevent burning. When cooked, add the onions, red currant jelly and vinegar. Mix well, then remove the whole mixture from the pan to a plate. Clean the sauté pan, and return it to a medium to high heat. Add the vegetable oil and heat it until it shimmers. Season the skate with salt and pepper and sear it on one side. VERY carefully, using a fish spatula, or other large offset spatula, flip the skate wing to sear the other side. Be sure when you slide the spatula under the fish to move the spatula in the direction of the strips of flesh on the skate wing – if you go parallel to them, you will break up the fish and end up with a pile of mushy strips of fish. Not appetizing.

Remove the fish from the sauté pan and allow to rest for 1 minute. Serve with the radicchio mixture and garnish with parsley.


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