Poached Skate with Black Truffle Butter
While it's highly prized in Asia and Europe,
skate is a frequently overlooked fish that is
unfamiliar to many Americans.
Skate is surprisingly inexpensive and is
often readily available in the frozen section
of well-stocked Asian markets. With a tender
texture and mild flavor, skate is an
interesting fish that is well worth seeking out.
There are many classic recipes which feature
this member of the ray family. One method
which works particularly well with skate is
faster and easier than you might expect. If
you make your compound butter in advance,
you've got dinner, start to finish, in under
Note: skate skin has tiny little spurs that make it painful to skin without special gloves. However, most is sold skinned.
Fill a large shallow covered pan half full with water. The pan should be large enough to accommodate all of the vegetables and the fish.
Add the carrot, fennel, lemon, peppercorns, salt and chiles, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer.
Add the skate, cover and cook for 5 - 8 minutes. The skate will cook very quickly, so be sure that it does not overcook.
Remove the skate from the poaching pan to a serving plate. Top with a slice of the black truffle compound butter and serve immediately.
Black Truffle-Parsley Compound Butter:
1 oz. black truffle, coarsely chopped (may substitute frozen if fresh are unavailable)
½ Tbsp pink peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ lb unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
Add the softened butter to a small food processor and pulse a few times until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pulse the processor a few times to incorporate all the ingredients, but do not over process - you'll want a few chunks of truffle for interest.
Cut a piece of plastic wrap, about 12 x 12, and lay it flat. Using a spatula, put the processed butter in a mound in the middle of the plastic wrap. Roll the butter up in the plastic wrap so it forms an even log or sausage shape. Twist the ends tightly.
Using a sharp knife or skewer, prick the plastic wherever there is a bubble to let the air escape.
Place the rolled up compound butter into the refrigerator to chill & firm up.
For best results, use the following day after the flavors have had a chance to blend and meld.
Compound butters may be stored in the refrigerator for a week or more and can be frozen for several months.