The delicate texture and elegant scallop-like
flavor of skate make it a favorite for many chefs and diners.
Andrew Zimmerman stacks, sous-vides and compresses layers of skate
wing to form a meaty, tender, filet, reminiscent of halibut in
its density, that retains the slightly sweet flavor skate is known
for. Layering the skate and then sous-viding it creates a wonderfully
juicy center that wouldn’t be possible with a traditional
thin cut of skate wing, and this process of hermetic poaching
and compression uses the skate's natural gelatin to form a homogenous,
wholly-new laminated skate.
Step 1: Alternately layer small and large skate
wings to form a thick, uniform fillet.
Step 2: Place skate in Cryovac, cover in fumet, and sous-vide
for 25 minutes.
Step 3: Compress the skate between two pans, with 3 pounds
of weight on top, and chill for at least 4 hours.
Step 4: Portion the skate to 5-ounce rectangles and reheat
For the Laminated Skate Wing:
Stack a large skate fillet with one of the smaller fillets so
that the thinner side of the small fillet is on top of the thicker
side of the large fillet, forming one fillet of uniform thickness.
Layer another small fillet and top with the remaining large fillet
in a similar fashion. Lightly season with salt and thyme. Place
the stack of skate into a large sous-vide bag and cover with fumet.
Seal the bag with significant pressure according to the sous-vide
Bring a large pot of water to 165ºF, using
a thermometer to maintain this temperature. Cook the skate for
approximately 25 minutes. Remove the bagged skate carefully, cool
at room temperature, then chill in an ice bath. Once the skate
is chilled, lightly press the bagged skate between 2 sheet pans
with approximately 3 pounds of weight on top. Press and chill
in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Remove the laminated skate from the bags, peel
off the thyme, and gently scrape off any jellied fumet. Trim the
skate and cut into 5-ounce rectangular portions. Refrigerate the
skate until ready to finish the dish.
For the Caper, Raisin and Pine Nut Relish:
Soak the raisins in Cava vinegar until plump, then drain and roughly
chop. Mix the raisins with capers, pine nuts, shallots, parsley
and olive oil. Season with salt, if needed.
For the Brown Butter Vinaigrette:
In a small saucepan simmer the cream and butter, stirring constantly,
until the mixture reduces, breaks and the milk solids begin to
toast. Cook until the milk solids are a deep brown. Remove from
heat and allow to rest a few minutes. When the milk solids have
settled to the bottom, carefully pour the butter fat from the
top and reserve, keeping warm. In a blender, combine the toasted
milk solids with the lemon juice and a pinch of lecithin. Blend
just to mix, then slowly add the butterfat to emulsify the vinaigrette.
Season with salt and additional lemon juice if needed. Keep the
vinaigrette slightly warm.
For the Arborio Rice Flour:
Grind Arborio rice to a powder in a strong blender. Sift the all-purpose
and semolina flour together with the salt and pepper. Add the
flour mixture to the Arborio powder and combine.
To Assemble and Serve:
Heat the grape seed oil in a sauté pan. Lightly dredge
the blocks of skate in the Arborio Rice Flour and season with
salt. Pan fry the skate, turning to crisp all sides, until the
skate is heated through. On a plate, top the skate with relish
and drizzle the brown butter around. Top with chervil or arugula.