Sunday, February 19

Skate with Antipasti & Olive Oil

I watched an old episode of Rick Stein last week where he made a version of the above but with Morroccan influences. I decided instead to take it to Italy. Go to your local deli and plunder the counter for nice antipasti. Roast peppers, tapanade, capers, marinaded anchovies, roast artichokes, balsamic onions etc etc etc....they would all work well. Use your best olive oil, anything too cheap will be acidic and nasty. Oh and a big thank you to Dan the fish man ( on Gloucester Road who ordered me in these spanking fresh skate wings.

Skate wings - 2, cut in half to make 4
Best extra virgin - 200ml
Roast peppers, red and yellow - 100g, finely sliced
Capers - 50g, drained
Semi dried tomatoes - 100g, finely sliced
Tapanade - 100g
Parsley - small bunch, leaves picked and finely chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, skins on and smashed
Bay Leaf - 4, torn up
Peppers corns - 10
Rosemary - 1 large sprig, bashed about a bit
Chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp
Lemons - 2
Onion - 1
White wine vinegar - 75ml

First infuse your oil - warm the oil with the crushed garlic cloves, pepper corns, rosemary, chilli and 2 bay leaves. Don't boil the oil, just bring it up so it feels very warm to the touch. Leave for an hour or longer to infuse. Pass through a sieve and reserve the oil.

Next make a court-bouillon - a classic fish poaching liquor. Fill a pan that will hold all the skate in one layer with cold water, about an inch deep. Add a few slices of lemon, the other two bay leaves, the vinegar, the slices onion and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and allow to stand and infuse for 30 mins before use.

Return the court-bouillon to the simmer, add the fish in a single layer, cover and very very gently simmer for 10 to 15 mins depending on the thickness of your fish. The fish is cooked when the thickest part of the flesh can gently be teased away from the bone with the tip of a knife.

While the fish is cooking, add the peppers, capers and tomatoes to the olive oil and return to the same temperature as before. Remove from the heat and add your parsley. Drain the fish, plate and dress with the antipasti and lots of the oil. Blob over a little tapanade and serve with more parsley and a lemon wedge - boiled new potatoes and purple sprouting as a side dish would work well.

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