When poached and allowed to grow cold, skate sets beautifully into a firm but giving fish whose natural structure shreds perfectly for our salad-making purposes.
- 1 cup white wine
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 head of fennel, sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 head of garlic, chopped in half, skin on
- Black peppercorns to taste
- A bunch of curly parsley tied together
- Sea salt
- 1 skate wing, 1½ to 1¾ pounds (get your fishmonger to skin it for you, both sides)
- 20 anchovy fillets
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
- A healthy splash of red wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 heads of chicory (also called curly endive; if you can get puntarella, a vegetable particular to Rome that looks like thin green celery, splendid and bitter, do), or 3 heads of Belgian endive, rinsed and chopped
- A bunch of rocket (arugula), leaves picked from the stem; if not available replace with watercress or other green peppery leaves
- A handful of chopped curly parsley
- A small handful of capers (extra-fine if possible)
To make your poaching broth mix all the ingredients together and add enough water to cover your skate. Bring it up to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Slip your skate wing into the poaching pan and cook for approximately 10 minutes (check that the flesh comes away from the bone), then turn off the heat and allow to cool in the liquor.
When cold remove the skate from the liquor and pull the flesh from the bone. It should come away in easy strips. Now make your dressing: either whizz all the ingredients in a food processor or pound them in a mortar with a pestle.
Bring together the skate, chicory, rocket (arugula), parsley, capers, and the dressing (caution—there may be too much, so do not add it all at once), and toss.