Skates and rays, which are closely related, are found in all the seas of the world and are popular in many cuisines.
The delicate meat of the skate, which is white with red mottling on one side, is firm, white and tasty. Rib-like cords constitute the structure of the meat, which is somewhat fragile. Skate can be grilled or deep-fried in batter if handled carefully. Like flank steak it can be stuffed, rolled and baked or braised.
Skate, like shark, sometimes requires special treatment to realize its full potential. The skates are very primitive biologically, storing some uric acid in their flesh to maintain a proper osmotic balance. Upon death the uric acid in the skate will sometimes develop an ammonia smell. To rid skate rays and sharks of any ammoniated smell or flavor, before cooking, soak the meat in acidulated water (one cup vinegar to one gallon water) for 30 minutes.
POACHED SKATE WITH TOMATO VINAIGRETTE
1 pound skate
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 to 6 sprigs parsley
4 black peppercorns
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar