Skate is pretty slimy and filleting it can be tricky just because it is hard to get a good hold on the slippery skin. It's most important to remeber to keep your fish in a bowl over a bowl of ice to keep it as fresh and cold as possible in the almost unbearable heat of the kitchen. I transition to the Poissonnier station for this evening’s class and begin work on my Skate à la Grenobloise. The traditional Grenobloise preparation includes a brown butter sauce with capers, lemon segments, parsley and croutons. After I fillet the skate, I go to work on making my croutons first – Chef likes them a particular size with even color on all sides. A little clarified butter and a hot pan help the croutons along.
Happily all our stations were occupied this night so no double duty! We all worked harmoniously helping each other prep and plate. The skate preparation is put together pretty quickly when it comes time for service. On the side I prepare potato cocottes to serve with the fish.
About 15 minutes before I need to plate the skate I start by seasoning the fillets and then dust them with flour. I heat a large sauté pan then add clarified butter – a very hot pan helps the fish not to stick. I sauté the fish and achieve a really nice golden crust. A quick flip and sear on the other side and it is done. Removing the fillets and placing them on paper towels helps keep the crispness and blots away any remaining fat.
Next, I wipe out the sauté pan, add whole butter and bring it to the beurre noisette (brown butter) stage, toss in the lemon segments, capers and check the seasoning. The hot butter sauce is napped over part of the fish and on the dish. Top with chopped parsley, buttery croutons and accompanied by three potato cocottes on the side and the dish is complete.
I plated on time which is very important, I await Chef to come over and critique the dish. “Nicely cooked skate, good crispiness,” but the beurre noisette kept on cooking a little so I have some black speckles in the sauce making it part beurre noir (black butter). Next time I need to remember to pull it off the stove a little earlier – other than that a successful night in hotter than hell’s kitchen.