Our Summer 2017 Issue
The first time I was served skate, it was love at first bite. It was the late 90s and I was spending a week working out of my company’s Paris office. A colleague, taking pity on my solitary restaurant meals, invited me to her apartment one night after work for an impromptu supper. It was a simple yet elegant menu: boiled new potatoes rolled in melted butter and sprinkled with salt and fresh parsley, a crisp green salad with a homemade vinaigrette, a wedge of perfectly ripe Camembert and a crunchy baguette. The main course, which she prepared while we sipped a glass of wine, was a funky looking fish I had never seen before that she called raie. Her preparation was pretty similar to the recipe for Pan Sautéed Skate Wing that Mac’s Seafood shares with us on page 23 and it came together in less than ten minutes. The fish was tender, moist and flavorful. I was hooked. Back in the States, I had a hard time finding raie, so I assumed it was not native to New England. It turns out that raie, or skate, is indeed a local species, but heretofore has been in such low demand that the majority of the fish landed is shipped out of the country. As the stocks of those perennial favorites, cod and haddock, have diminished, skate (and dogfish) have replaced them in the nets of our local fishing fleet, and as Lisa Cavanaugh writes in A Local Catch, Cape fishermen are hoping to convert more of us to fans of these unfamiliar species. If you don’t see them in your fishmonger’s display case, ask him or her to order you some. Both Cape Fish & Lobster in Hyannis and Osterville Fish were able to accommodate our request for skate for our recipe testing/photo shoot with a few days notice. Or, treat yourself to a meal out at one of the participating Pier to Plate restaurants working with the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance to raise awareness of these overly abundant, underutilized fish species. Your purchasing decisions could have an impact on the future of fishing on the Cape. Oh, and my second meal of skate? It was as sublime and memorable as the first. Now I’m an official champion of the species. Do yourself a favor and seek out this delicious, local fish. We bet you’ll be hooked, too.