Gratin of skate cheeks with cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs

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by: Christina






Skate cheeks are the edible portions of the skate. When cooked, the flesh separates into little fingers of meat that have a distinctive, rich, gelatinous texture accompanied by a mild flavor similar to that of scallop meat. Raw skate meat is slightly off-white, sometimes pinkish. When cooked, the meat is off-white. Skate meat is on the softer side but firms when chilled.




ingredients

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serves: 4

2 1/2 cups (600 ml) milk

1 small onion (halved)

6 whole cloves

4 leaves bay

4 gratings of fresh nutmeg

2 small sprigs of thyme

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

6 tablespoons (75 g) unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream

1 1/4 lb (550 g) prepared skate cheeks

2/3 cup (75 g) shredded aged Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup (25 g) coarse white breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

10 turns of the black pepper mill

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Nutrition Facts
Gratin of skate cheeks with cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 1243

  • Total Fat: 114.1 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 68.7 g
  •     Trans Fat: 3.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 296.9 mg
  • Sodium: 128.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 23.3 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
  •     Sugars: 9.3 g
  • Protein: 37.6 g
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preparation

1.  Put the milk into a pan with the onion, cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, thyme, and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 1 hour to allow the flavors to infuse.

2.  Bring the milk back to a boil, then strain through a sieve into a clean pan. Melt 4 tablespoons (50 g) of the butter in a pan, add the flour, and cook gently for 2 to 3 minutes without letting it color. Gradually stir in the hot milk, then bring to a boil. Simmer gently over a very low heat for 10 minutes, giving it an occasional stir, until slightly reduced and thickened. Stir in the cream and season with some salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste.

3.  Lay the head dark-side down on a board and pull back the jaw to open up the mouth.

4.  Slice diagonally under the jaw down toward the nose.

5.  Remove the mouth piece, which will have the skate cheeks attached.

6.  Cut around the spherical cheek meats with the tip of a small, sharp knife and remove.

7.  These will still have a small piece ot bone in the very center, which you can remove if desired, although it is easier to get it out once the cheeks have been cooked.

8.  Heat the remaining butter in a large frying pan until foaming. Season the skate cheeks with salt and white pepper, then add to the pan and fry briskly for 4 minutes, turning them now and then, until lightly browned and just cooked through.

9.  Divide the cheeks among four individual gratin dishes. Pour the sauce over them.

10.  Preheat the broiler. Mix the shredded cheese with the breadcrumbs, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, and sprinkle this over each dish. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp and golden. Serve with hot brown toast.

Cooks' note:
ALTERNATIVE FISH:
Large chunks of skinned white fish such as cod, haddock, or monkfish.

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