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Skate Fish

Skate Wing Flavor Scale

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Skate Fish & Ray Flavor Profile

Skates have a mildly pronounced flavor, firm flesh and a high collagen content which gives it a unique texture when cooked. The flesh is light beige to pinkish in color but becomes off-white when cooked. Their taste is similar to scallops. Do not over cook Skate or Ray as the flesh will break along the separations.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

Sting Ray, Ray, Raja Fish, Imitation Scallops
East Coast Skates include: Barndoor Skate, Clearnose Skate, Little Skate, Winter Skate, Thorny Skate
Pacific Coast Skates include: Big Skate, California Skate, Longnose Skate

Typical Wholesale Products

Skin-off wings, Skin-on wings, fillets, whole
West Coast varieties average 3-5 lbs per wing while East Coast varieties average 1-3 pounds per wing.

Purchasing Considerations

Fresh Skate should not have an ammonia odor; if it does then reject it.

Skate Description (Rajidae)

Skates & Rays are a bottom dwelling fish related to the shark family and as such have cartilage instead of bones. They are shaped like a kite and although colors vary, most Skate are a brownish gray color. Skates are larger than Rays and have longer, more pointed snouts. Their "wings" are composed of multiple strips of flesh separtaed by strips of cartilage. Size varies greatly by species with the largest Skate reaching weights up to 200 pounds, but average commercial size is about 8-10 pounds whole fish.

The skin of Skates & Rays is tough and inedible. Like sharks, Skates eliminate urea through their skin, giving additional reason to remove it before preparing skate wing for service.

Skate Wing-Uncooked jpg
image by FotoosVanRobin

Big Skate jpg
image by Andrew Grygus for Clovegarden

Skate jpg
 image source Wikipedia


Fresh Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Skate is most available during the summer and fall, but winter harvested Skate is considered to be the best.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


Skate Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Head/On gutted 26%    Yield rates vary widely by species.
Whole Head/Off gutted 59%    
Skin/On Fillets -- 60% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Skate are found in cold and temperate oceans worldwide as well as deep tropical waters. Their diet consists mainly of crustaceans, invertebrates, and the occasional small fish.

Skate range jpg
AquaMaps Data sources: GBIF OBIS

Skate Fish Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Raja spp.,
Leucoraja ocellata
Baja Fish, Imitation Scallop, Barndoor, Clearnose, Little, Rosette, Smooth, Thorny and Winter Skate
Wild Worldwide Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Moderate
Raja binoculata
Big Skate Wild - Bottom Trawl, Bottom Longline US - WA, OR, CA Yellow-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  
Wild - Bottom Trawl Canada - BC Yellow-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  
Raja inornata
Calafornia Skate Wild - Bottom Trawl US - WA, OR, CA Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  
Raja rhina
Longnose Skate Wild - Bottom Trawl US - WA, OR, CA Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  
Bottom longline, Bottom traw Canada - BC Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  
Raja spp.
    US, Canada - Atlantic Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png  
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.

 Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended
January 2015


How to Fillet Skate Video


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving

* Calories/Calories from fat 163
* Protein grams 36
* Fat grams 1.2
* Saturated fat grams .38
* Sodium milligrams 154
* Cholesterol milligrams 47
* Omega-3 grams  


Follow David Buchanan on Google +
David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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