Ok, so this might not be a common fish to come across, but a local fishmonger had skate on sale, so I decided to give it a shot. Skate meat comes from the “wings” of the fish – skate fish look like stingrays, but there’s a handful of biological differences that I don’t feel are necessary for me to go into here because this isn’t a biology blog. If you absolutely need to know more about the biology of skate fish, ask your mom’s new boyfriend, Kurt, because he got his degree in marine biology and he never gets a chance to talk about it.
Skate is a mild, white fish, and it tastes like a cross between crab and scallops; that is, not “fishy” really at all. This makes it very good for picky eaters, kids especially. The technique I use to bread and fry this fish is equally good for almost any fish you’d want to cook and keep paleo/keto-friendly.
Finally, I paired my skate with these sweet and sour sauteed peppers and onions, which I adore. I think coleslaw would work, too, but I didn’t have cabbage.
Pan-Fried Skate and Sweet & Sour Peppers and Onions
1 pound fresh skate, cleaned
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup crushed pork rinds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste
Coconut or olive oil (for frying)
For the peppers and onions
1 large green pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 large red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Swerve sweetener
1 tbsp kosher salt, and then more to taste
Lemon Butter Sauce (optional but delicious)
3 tbsp Kerrygold or other “European-style” salted butter
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Best to start the veggies first, since they take the longest. Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat, and coat the pan with several tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the peppers and onions in and let them fry, salting them and stirring for a minute or two. After they’ve sauteed for a little bit, sprinkle the Swerve over them and keep stirring every few minutes for about 5 minutes. Pour the vinegar on, stir, and let it stew for 5 more minutes, turning the heat to medium. Add some more oil over the top, stir and let the peppers and onions continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn and stick to the pan. You DO want some carmelization, though, so don’t worry if they start to darken a bit. Add another slug or two of balsamic vinegar (another 1/4 cup) and allow to cook off. When they peppers and onions start to get visibly soft and dark, you can turn the heat off and stir them occasionally, allowing them to continue to cook in the residual heat of the pan.
Mix the coconut flour, crushed pork rinds, cayenne, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl. Dredge each piece of fish in the mixture well; the skate “wings” have ridges and you’ll want to make sure that the breading gets in between each one. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, and melt your coconut oil, about 4 tbsp per 1/2lb piece of fish. When it starts to shimmer, place the fish down in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, then flipping, cooking for another 2-3 minutes. I left mine in for 3 minutes on each side, allowing it to crisp up a bit more, and the fish was still fantastic – not dry in the least.
Remove the fried fish to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan (or microwave, whatever) until it’s completely liquid. Mix in the lemon juice and pepper, and serve with the fish. I poured mine over the fish and it comes back together a bit, kind of like a butter glaze. I recommend this, because if you’re not clarifying the butter it will likely harden to a degree so dipping might not be an option. In addition, the butter glaze was delicious.
Serve it all hot and together. You can also make a pretty solid keto tartar sauce with:
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup dill pickle relish
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Swerve
Super easy and pretty delish as well.
Like I said, this breading technique works for most fish you’d want to bread: catfish, cod, pollock, walleye, etc. It’s a mild breading and it doesn’t absorb grease the way that flour or cornmeal can, so it keeps a light fish tasting light while adding a layer of crispiness and overall completeness that fried fish begs for.
If you celebrate Lent, happy Lent! Here’s a fish recipe to try and still stay keto/paleo.
If you don’t celebrate lent, happy Time-When-Fish-Is-Cheap! Here’s a fish recipe to try and still stay keto/paleo.