Hurricane Irene hit New York City early Sunday morning. To prepare, my roommate and housemates cleaned out the trash outside, weighed down our broken grill, moved all electrical things from the windows, and put up towels in areas we knew would leak. My roommate and I were put in charge of buying the necessary items in case we lost power, gas, or water. This was the best idea ever.
My roommate and I went to the local Chinese supermarket and came back with the most important things. We came back with:
Haw Flakes, chocolate wafer sticks, sour cream and onion Pringles, dried pork, dried fish, dried beef, chili sauce, preserved bamboo, preserved vegetables, honey mustard pretzels, shrimp chips, rice crackers, sunflower seed, pig ear, chicken feet, salted duck, beef tendon, and a six pack of beer. Red Cross, if you are hiring, my roommate and I are available for consulting.
In addition to all of this amazing first aid food stuff, I did also get some things from work because the restaurant had to shut down for the weekend. This meant that the wonderful people in pastry gave me some equally wonderful zucchini muffins and the chefs gave me some awesome uncooked skate that wouldn’t survive the weekend. I downed the muffins on my way home, but I pretended that there was no electricity so it didn’t feel premature to dive into them. The skate however, was a conundrum. I wasn’t really sure how I would prepare it. I’m not very familiar with skate mainly because the “Seafood Watch” list tells me not to buy it. So, it’s exciting that I got my hands on skate. This is especially because it comes from a vendor that I can trust and know gets seafood from fisherman that are sustainable and progressive.
I ended up cooking it in a method that is very common with how my mom cooks fish fillets. It’s simple and uses aromatics and ingredients that every Asian person should have at home. All you need to do is pan fry the fish and then quickly create a sauce in the same pan. Because the skate wings are so thin, you can make this dish in less than ten minutes. If you don’t have access to sustainable skate, and if you don’t know then don’t get it, you can use some scallops. The flavor profile is almost exactly the same. Texture won’t be like fish, but it’s more about the flavor in this dish.
In case you where wondering, our building wasn’t damaged too much by the hurricane. We had a little water in our basement and the second floor did not have power for the day, but we where lucky. Now, make some scallops (or skate) and enjoy.
2 lbs of skate wing, 4 fillets
salt and black pepper
2 tbs vegetable oil
¼ cup of ginger, julienne
2 medium scallions, sliced in 1 inch pieces
3 medium cloves of garlic, smashed
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbs Chinese rice wine
1½ tbs sugar
sprinkle salt and pepper on skate
heat oil in a non-stick skillet on high until scorching hot
panfry skate on one side for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown and flip to finish cooking, for about another 2 minutes
remove cooked skate and return the pan to the heat
add garlic, ginger, and scallion to pan and stir fry until fragrant
mix the soy sauce, wine, and sugar in another bowl and add to the hot pan
stir until sauce is slightly reduced, 1 minute
pour sauce over fillet and serve