Chef Jeff’s: Cornmeal Crusted Skate

Private Chef Jeff Nappe, based out of New Jersey, curates beautiful elegant dishes. Using techniques and ingredients used in different cultures such as Indian, Norwegian and Japanese. Understanding textural, visual and taste appeal, you can count on New Jersey Resident & Chef, Jeff, to create your new favorite dish.

This crunchy cornmeal crusted skate melds perfectly with the soft saag. The slow cooked aromatics of garlic and onion go hand in hand with fresh ginger. With the delicate pan crispy fish with a luscious creamy saag, you’ll be glad you made dinner at home!

Serves 4

Ingredients

Skate

Skate wings, 4

AP flour, 2 c

Cornmeal (less coarse), 1 c

Egg, whisked, 4

Pinch of salt

Unsalted butter, 1/2 stick

Grapeseed oil, 1 c

Saag

Spinach, 1 bag

Fresh parsley, 1/4 c

Pinch of salt

Onion, 1

Garlic cloves, 8

Knob ginger

Unsalted butter, 1/2 stick

Evoo, 1/4 c

Chicken stock, 1/2 c

Salt to taste

*Note-It’s optional but you can add 2 tsp lemon juice and 1/4 c sauvignon blanc to the skate after you flip it the first time. Allow 4-5 minutes on medium high flame for flavors to reduce as the skate finishes. 

Procedure:

1. For the saag, put half stick unsalted butter with 1/4 c evoo into a sauce pan on medium heat. Once the butter is browned lower the pan to medium low. 

2. Setup large pot with salted water brought to a boil for blanching.

3. While the butter is browning, chop up 8 garlic cloves and 1 whole onion that go right into the pan. Using a spoon, scrape off the skin from the ginger. Using a standard cheese grater grate the ginger until the knob is no more. Scoop up all the grated ginger and squeeze all of that juice into the pan with the garlic and onion. If you don’t want to squeeze it then press it through a fine mesh strainer.

4. Allow the garlic, onion, and ginger mixture to cook on low for up to 30 minutes or at least until softened and lightly browned.

5. Drop the whole bag of spinach and 1/4 c fresh parsley into the boiling water. Allow up to 2 minutes max for blanch. Remove spinach an parsley and put into the bowl of ice water to cool down.

6. Once cooled, remove spinach and parsley from ice water and wring out most of the water–but not all of it. Drop right into the pan with the onion, garlic, and ginger mixture. Spread it out a bit and allow it all to cook on medium-low heat.

7. The saag mixture will break down on its own from cooking on low heat with a lid. If you desire a less chunky texture, scrape the entire mixture into a vitamix or blender, add 1/2 c chicken stock and pulse the blender 3 or 4 times. It will give the saag a smoother consistency.

8. Whether or not you use a blender, still add 1/2 cup of chicken stock into the saag once its covered in order to add an extra dimension of flavor. 

Note:

9. For the skate, put half stick unsalted butter with 1 c grapeseed oil into large cast iron pan on medium high heat until butter browns. Then lower pan to medium. If you do not have a cast iron pan then use any non stick or other pan you trust for frying. The cast iron gives the fish a nice crunch though.

10. Prepare 3 bowls or trays for dipping. In the 1st put 2 c of AP flour, in the second put 1 c cornmeal, and in the third put 4 eggs, lightly whisked.

11. Take out your skate, one at a time, dip skate into egg mixture, then the flour mixture on both sides, then back into the egg mixture, and then press into the cornmeal on both sides. Skate is very meaty so theres no shame in cooking it a little longer. 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on how hot your pan is. Each side should have a slightly browned golden look and a very crispy crunchy outer feel.

12. Rest skate briefly on paper towels to drain of any excess oil.

13. For plating, put one laddle of saag using a plate or bowl. Place crispy skate wing right on top of saag and dig in.

This recipe is just one of the many recipes that can be found in Chef Jeff Nappe’s book, Tastings, which can be found on Amazon or by clicking the link below.

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Recipe From:

Chef Jeff

Be on the look out for his upcoming book this spring!

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