This fresh and vibrant recipe for Seared Skate Wing will ease you into the crisp days of fall.
Come October, we begin our annual ritual of stalking our favorite Greenmarkets for peak-season rutabaga and eagerly awaiting our first haul of freshly caught skate wings of the season. We revive this autumnal ritual every year in anticipation (and celebration) of one of our favorite fall Market Menu dishes: Seared Skate Wings with Rutabaga and Pickled Cauliflower – or perhaps more familiarly to some – ‘Raya a la Plancha’.
In this dish, succulent skate wings are seared until delicately browned and served alongside vibrant pickled purple cauliflower, caramelized rutabaga, fragrant dill, and housemade lemony-herbed yogurt.
For those less familiar with Skate, it’s can be a thrilling experience to discover the delicate texture and layers of flavor that reside within this often-overlooked protein. Skate (Raya) is a flat ray fish whose “wings” (or fins) provide us with beautifully ribbed, crescent-shaped fillets that cook to silky and deeply flavorful perfection. These fillets are best served with a crisp golden sear – slightly crunchy on the outside and only just opaque on the inside. To achieve this (somewhat-counterintuitive) balance, you will need three vital pieces of equipment: a searing hot flat surface, good-quality olive oil, and wicked instincts.
At Boqueria, when it comes to showcasing beautiful protein, we often employ one of our most prized pieces of kitchen gear to get the job done: La Plancha. At the heart of every Spanish restaurant kitchen is the plancha, a ripping hot flat-top grill. Its intense, direct heat is known for caramelizing the exterior of proteins and vegetables while keeping the interior moist. The simplicity of plancha-cooking makes it a go-to for chefs looking to spotlight great products with little muss and fuss. Throw something on the plancha and dress it with a little salsa verde, romesco, or herbed yogurt for an effortless stand-out meal.
Chances are, you don’t have a plancha at home, but a griddle or a wide, shallow pan heated to about 400ºF will do the trick. The plancha is ready for use when water drops sprinkled onto the surface dance on contact. Cooking times vary depending on what you’re preparing—but for Skate, we usually find that 2-3 minutes on each side renders perfect results.
RAYA A LA PLANCHA
Seared Skate Wings
Prep: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
- 2 boneless, skinless skate wings (12 ounces each),
- halved extra-virgin olive oil,
- for cooking Herbed Yogurt (recipe follows),
- to serve Roasted Rutabaga (recipe follows),
- Pickled Cauliflower (recipe follows) kosher salt and
- freshly ground black pepper.
Generously season each skate wing with salt on both sides. Fold each half in half. Because boneless skate wings are so flat, they have a tendency to overcook, so this permits the outside to brown nicely while the inside stays moist.
Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Coat the bottom of the skillet with oil, then add the skate in a single layer. Add more oil if needed to have the skate sizzling steadily. Cook until the underside is very well browned, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until the center of the fish is barely opaque, 2-3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and grind black pepper on top.
Divide the herbed yogurt among serving plates and top with the seared skate and roasted rutabaga. Drain the pickles and scatter on top, along with some fresh dill leaves. Serve immediately
- 1 cup labneh
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 rounded tablespoon minced chives
- 1 rounded tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 rounded tablespoon chopped dill leaves, plus more for serving
- 2½ tablespoons lemon juice or to taste kosher salt
Mix the labneh, oil, chives, parsley, dill, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt, then add more lemon juice and/or salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 6 hours.
- 1 rutabaga, peeled, quartered, and cut into ½-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil kosher salt
Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450ºF. Toss the rutabaga with the oil and a generous pinch of salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. When the oven is heated, spread the rutabaga on the hot baking sheet in a single layer in the pan. Roast the rutabaga for 15–20 minutes until browned on the undersides and tender.
- 2 cups Pickling Liquid (see page 270)
- 1 head cauliflower, cored, florets cut into 2-inch chunks
Bring the pickling liquid to the boil. Pack the cauliflower into a jar or other airtight container. Pour the boiling liquid over the cauliflower and seal the jar. Once at room temperature, refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Find more recipes in “Boqueria – a cookbook from Barcelona to New York”