Sunday, February 13, 2011

Skate Wing

Yesterday I visited Andrew and Lauren in Koreatown and found some fun new foods to try. On my way home, I stopped briefly at Zion Market near their home and bought a cooked skate wing which was in soy sauce, sesame seed and red pepper. 
Skates look much like rays, flattened fish with wings, closely related to sharks. The wing is where most of the meat is and is the part of the fish most commonly eaten. This skate was so smothered in sauce that it was difficult to see what it even looked like. 
I dug in with my fingers and started to pull out fish bites and encountered long cartilaginous strands which I chewed on and then pulled out of my mouth. After a couple of those bites I was about ready to give up. Then I found some beautiful flesh underneath the cartilage which was lined in long strands, very soft with a pleasing texture. In the picture below, note the cartilage on the top layer and the flesh underneath.
I figured out that the cartilaginous strands must be part of the outward structure of the wing. 
The sauce was very hot and I think it would have been better with a little bit of sweet in it. I later found that skate is one of the 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die. It appears that a common preparation for skate is poached with parsley, lemon and capers, which actually sounds very good. The texture and taste of the meat would lend itself very well to that preparation. 1001 gives a nice description when it states, "delicate-textured flesh of the wings lies in strands over a weblike cartilage". Below, some of the beautiful flesh, in strands, in my fingers. 
Looking on-line, I'm seeing some other preparations that look quite good. This may be a fish I need to try cooking myself at some time in the future. 

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