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
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.
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.
image by FotoosVanRobin
image source Wikipedia
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.
Skate Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery
|Item||To Skin/On Fillets||To Skin/Off Fillets||Notes|
|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 Fish Sustainability Info
|Name||Alternate Names||Catch Method||Catch|
|Baja Fish, Imitation Scallop, Barndoor, Clearnose, Little, Rosette, Smooth, Thorny and Winter Skate
|Big Skate||Wild - Bottom Trawl, Bottom Longline||US - WA, OR, CA|
|Wild - Bottom Trawl||Canada - BC|
|Calafornia Skate||Wild - Bottom Trawl||US - WA, OR, CA|
|Longnose Skate||Wild - Bottom Trawl||US - WA, OR, CA|
|Bottom longline, Bottom traw||Canada - BC|
|US, Canada - Atlantic|
|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.|
= Best Choice/Recommended = Good Alternative = Avoid/Not Recommended
How to Fillet Skate Video
based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving
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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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