Skate Wing with Lemon-Caper Sauce

skate wing recipe.jpg

It’s a mystery to me that more people don’t eat skate. Sure, they’re a little more difficult to fillet, but they’re easy to catch and more importantly, delicious. On days when the fishing is slow, catching a few skates is much, much better than going home empty-handed. I’m not here to suggest that a skate is merely a consolation prize, though. Skate wings are worth seeking out in their own right for their delicate flavor and unique texture. Some people compare skate wing to scallop, and they do have a similar “linear” texture to the filet, but I’d say the likeness stops there. Where a scallop is sweet and rich, skate is light and clean. They’re both delightful, but I’d say skate wing is much better suited for a light and bright citrus-based sauce, like the one below.

The key to a great meal of skate wing is all in the preparation. First, keep your fish cold! I would never suggest leaving any fish out in the hot sun or in a cooler with no ice, but some are more forgiving of this treatment than others. Skates, rays, and sharks do not take kindly to the heat and quickly develop an offputting ammonia-y odor when treated poorly. Catch it, kill it, and cool it down!

And filleting a skate can be a little tricky the first time. To simplify, it basically comes apart like a flounder with thick catfish-like skin. Use a sharp knife. We’ve prepared a post to demonstrate the process. When you’re finished, the “wings” can be treated like any delicate white-fleshed fish fillets. We like to dredge ours with some cracker dust or semolina and lightly pan fry. Top off with some zesty piccata sauce and crack a beer .


Skate Wing with Lemon-Caper Sauce

Prep time: 30 Minutes

Serves: 4



Skate wings

Saltine cracker meal (or your favorite fish fry breading)

Juice of two lemons

½ cup butter, diced

2 tbsp capers

½ cup white wine

2 shallots, diced fine

skate wing recipe.jpg


Combine capers, wine and shallots in a small saucepan, set to medium heat and reduce to ¼ of liquid volume. Add lemon juice and remove from heat. Add butter and stir until incorporated. Season with salt to taste and set sauce aside.

In a separate pan, preheat a few tablespoons of oil to medium-high heat. Season skate wings with a little salt. Dredge both sides in cracker meal. Pan-fry until golden brown, about two minutes per side. Serve with sauce spooned over fillets.