Serves 8 as a starter/4 as a main
- 2 x 600g skate wings
Order 600g skate wings from your fishmonger, as they are thick enough but not too big. You can easily prepare four portions from one wing as a starter. With a sharp knife, starting from the top, slide it with a slight angle along the cartilage and remove the flesh. Keep it in the fridge, but you'll need to work quickly so that it's not left for too long. Skate, like crab, has a reputation for developing an ammonia taste if left for too long. Super-gelatinous skate bones make a very good fish stock, so keep them wrapped up in cling film in the freezer for use later.
The scallop mousse
- 150g fresh scallop flesh
- 30g egg white
- 150g double cream
- Salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper
In a tall blender, blitz the scallop flesh with the egg white, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add the cream little by little until thoroughly mixed in. Wrap some mousse in cling film and poach it to make sure it holds and the seasoning is right. Now reserve in a piping bag in the fridge.
The beurre noisette sauce
- 2x 250g high-quality butter
For the beurre noisette sauce, preparation is everything. You will need:
- 1 conical sieve
- 1 piece of damp muslin cloth
- Iced water
In a tall saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter until it gets very brown but not black. As soon as it smells like hazelnuts, quickly pass it through the muslin cloth and through the sieve into a bowl, which should be resting in a warm place. Refresh right away by placing the bowl in the iced water. Put the butter to set in the fridge and, once hard, discard the left-over milk.
- 3 slices white bread, neatly diced
- 150g clarified butter
In a frying pan, on a moderate heat, fry the croutons in the clarified butter until golden. Place on top of a tray laid with absorbent paper. Season the croutons immediately and keep in a dry place or a dehydrator.
- 3 blood oranges
Peel the blood oranges and segment them. Cut them in half again. Keep them in blood orange juice in the fridge until needed.
- Parsley leaves
- Olive oil
Before chopping the parsley, pick out the best looking leaves: aim for those that are quite big with at least three perfect leaves on the stem. Place them in a stainless steel bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and salt onto them and toss gently to coat. Place the leaves on a plate, cover them with cling film then microwave at full blast for 4 minutes. If not completely crisp, repeat the operation for 2 minutes. Once the leaves are dried and translucent, reserve in a dry place or dehydrator until needed.
- 15g flat leaf parsley
Chop 15g of flat leaf parsley and keep it on a plate in the fridge with a damp cloth on it.
Buttered baby gem
- 1 x baby gem lettuce
Trim the root of a baby gem and release the leaves. Blanch the green outer leaves in salted boiling water and refresh right away in iced water. Keep the crunchy inner leaves for a different recipe. Drain the refreshed leaves and keep in a dish between two J cloths in the fridge until needed.
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
Pipe the mousse onto the skate wing and roll into a sausage shape. Cook the fish in a water bath at 55°C for 25 minutes. A few minutes before serving, reheat the baby gem in a pan with a knob of butter.
Heat up the beurre noisette and, when hot, add a few capers and the blood orange segments. Increase the sharpness with a trickle of lemon juice and season accordingly.
To serve, place the buttered baby gem on a warm place. With a pair of scissors open the fish parcel and, with a sharp, serrated knife, trim the end and gently cut in half. Place on the side of the plate.
Add the chopped parsley to the butter sauce and pour it on the plate, displaying the orange segment prettily. Scatter a few croutons on top, along with the parsley crisp. Serve at once.
Recipe taken from The Frenchman and the Farmer's Daughters by Stéphane Borie (reviewed here). Photography by Andy Richardson