Skate Cheeks with Chorizo and Pea Linguini with Lemon and Parsley - Recipes

Skate Cheeks… Near impossible to get and not many people would have had the opportunity. Unless you are blessed with an excellent fishmonger or you or your partner are a sea fisherman you will struggle to find them. Skate Cheeks literally are the cheek of the skate or more precisely the muscle that lies either side of the Skates mouth. This pair of muscles is used to control an immensely powerful mouth that in turn is used to crush and chew the hardest of shellfish and the even tougher hardback crabs.. Affectionately known as ‘eyeballs’, this elusive cut of the fish was entirely new to me and if it wasn’t for a skilled fisherman preparing the fish they still would not be available (Dad used to do this for a living!).
The reason that you do not see Skate Cheek very often is that it is simply a nightmare to take from the fish. Usually the cheeks remain in the heads of most Skate or Ray and are returned to the sea along with the rest of the waste fish. Not this time!! I had 6 fish (12 cheeks) to cook and this is what I done with them.

Skate Cheeks with Chorizo and Pea Linguini with Lemon and Parsley


12 Skate Cheeks
Sausage sized piece of Chorizo
2 small Shallot (Small dice)
Cup full of peas
1 Lemon
Handful of dried Linguini (2/3rds of a pack)
Half a cup of flour
Some fish stock (cubed is fine, fresh is better)
Dessert Spoon of Low fat Crème Fraiche
Glass of White Wine
Olive Oil
Maldon Salt
Black Pepper

From the Garden:

Bunch or Parsley finely chopped (reserving some for garnish)

First of all get a saucepan of water on for your pasta, season it with salt and add your fish stock – get this boiling.

Get a frying pan onto the heat and begin by chopping your Chorizo into 1/4 cm rounds, when done add them to the pan on a gentle heat and begin to fry (you don’t need any Olive Oil at this point). Whilst the Chorizo is frying cut your Skate cheeks into halves or the bigger cheeks into thirds place them in a bowl, season and then sprinkle with flour making sure they are completely coated. Once the Chorizo has browned on both sides, remove from the pan and place on a warm plate. Now add a little extra oil and turn up the heat, once hot put the fish into the pan and fry your Skate cheeks until brown. You want to cook them quick on the outside leaving the middle of the fish pieces slightly undercooked. Remove them from the pan and place on the warm plate alongside the Chorizo. Now fry your Shallots, quick as you can but without browning them. Once the Shallots are translucent add the glass of wine and begin to reduce. Meanwhile add your peas to the pasta (they’ll only take 1 minute) It’s all happening now so I hope your plates are warm!

To the frying pan add the juice of the whole Lemon, the chopped Parsley and a ladel or two of the cooking stock from the pasta (enough to make a suitable amount of sauce) and stir in your Crème Fraiche - let the sauce bubble away – check the seasoning at this point. By now your pasta should be cooked (you’ll want it al dente). Drain the pasta and peas and then add them to your sauce. Toss the pasta in the sauce and then stir in the Chorizo and Skate Cheeks (be gentle with the Cheeks and try and keep the pieces whole). Your ready to serve!! Tower the linguini in the centre of two plates making sure that equal amounts of Chorizo, Skate Cheeks and Peas on each plate, then dress the two plates in the sauce.. Finish with a little more Parsley and serve immediately!

This is a lovely dish!! The Skate Cheeks are plump and rich enough to hold up to the Chorizo, the sweet peas fill the mouth with a vegetable sweetness whilst the Parsley and Lemon Juice cut through them all and unite all of the ingredients – delicious!

If you can’t get Skate Cheeks then you can use Monkfish or something like that, but do try and if you are lucky enough to have a good fishmongers it could simply be a matter of him asking the fisherman to save them for you!

Let me know what you think!

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