Fish Friday: Skate, a Chef’s Secret No Longer

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Let’s face it, on the outside skate just doesn’t look good and, for many consumers, that alone is reason enough not to try.  Those who see past the thorny projections on its back and the shark-like composition of its body, however, tend to like what they find.

Underneath it all, the skate has a flaky, sweet white meat with long, separated strands that run along the line of the bone that make it easy to eat.   Yet despite the rising costs of other flaky white fish like flounder or trout, the general public remains, at least here in the States, skeptical.  As a result, skate is a chef’s secret:  a high-end meat that you can still get on the on the cheap.

(Still not convinced?  Check out this article from 1998 in which the New York Times called skate “elegant” and “A-list” or this 2006 article where the Washingtonian declared that skate has gone from “trash fish to treasure.”)

Despite it’s unpopularity in the US, Greenpeace lists several varieties of skate on its seafood red list due to unsustainable fishing practices.  Whole Foods, according to this Huffington Post article,  no longer carries skate because “[it] has been very overfished. The majority are caught with bottom trawls, which result in accidental catches and significant damage to the seafloor.”

With it’s profile on the rise among chefs across America and high-minded businesses and organizations pushing for more sustainable fishing practices, it’s only a matter of time before this bottom feeder gets its time in the sun.

Photo Above:  Emeril Lagasse’s Galician Style Fish Recipe from 


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