Raie au beurre noir (Skate in black butter sauce)

Raie au beurre noir (Skate in black butter sauce)
Serves 2

This very famous French dish is remarkably easy to make.


2 servings of skate wings
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
pinch of salt
60g/2 oz butter (ideally fine, unsalted butter - don't stint - it is the co-star of this dish)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (leaves only - no stalks)


1 Use a large pan big enough to take the wings side by side. Add enough water to cover them, but not yet the wings. Chop the onion, carrot and celery roughly and add to the water with the bay leaf, peppercorns, half the wine vinegar and the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

2 Add the wings. Return to a boil then turn down to a simmer. The water should be barely bubbling. Cook for 10 minutes.

3 While that's happening, melt the butter in a frying pan. Watch it carefully, stirring a little. It should go brown, not black. When it does, add the lemon juice, capers, parsley and the rest of the wine vinegar. Stir until blended.

4 Drain the fish, transfer to plates. Pour over the sauce.

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