skate wing with brown butter recipe

Skate or Ray Wing with Brown Butter

Rays and skates are interchangeable in the kitchen. "Skate wing" is a term of art in the seafood world; you never know whether you're eating skate or ray. But if you get them yourself, rays are slimy, while skates have smooth skin. Some people like their skate wings on the bone, with the cartilage left in. That's fine, just move it aside on the plate once you eaten it. This is a very simple recipe, so use the finest ingredients you can get: The best butter, the best vinegar, the smallest capers. It makes a difference. I like to serve this with bread and a green thing alongside, in this case my sea bean salad.

Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 4 people
Author Hank Shaw


  • 4 skate or ray wing fillets
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 4 cups cool water
  • Flour for dusting
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup sherry or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons small capers


  1. Mix the salt and cool water until the salt dissolves. Submerge the skate or ray in the brine and put in the fridge for 1-4 hours.
  2. Turn the oven to 200°F and set a large baking pan or casserole dish inside. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Dredge the skate wings in the flour and shake off any excess. Lay them in the pan so they are not touching each other; you may need to cook the skate in batches. Turn the heat down to medium and fry the skate wings until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the skate and cook for 1-4 minutes on the other side, depending on how thick they are. If you've never cooked skate before, it cooks more slowly than other fish, so give it a few more minutes that you would a comparable fish.
  3. When you are done with the first batch of skate, set them in the oven to keep warm and repeat the process with the rest of the skate.
  4. Once the skate is cooked, Pour off any butter from the pan and wipe it off with a paper towel. Add the rest of the butter and set it over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan and let the butter cook until it has browned, then add the vinegar, capers and honey. Swirl to combine and let this boil 1 minute. Put a piece of skate on each person's plate and pour the sauce over. Serve at once.

Note that prep time does not include optional brine.