ffwd – skate (tilapia) with capers, cornichons and brown butter sauce

I’ve never eaten skate before, though I’ve seen it on a few menus, mainly in coastal cities. To be honest, I still haven’t. While we can get a surprising variety of fin fish and shell fish at the better markets in the desert southwest of the US, skate isn’t one of them. So when I looked up alternatives, I got – tilapia. Mind you, I’ve seen pictures of skate, with their delicate color and ruffly edges, but not this time! I was sorry to have to substitute.

Otherwise, this is fairly straightforward. I like this kind of recipe because it reminds me that I really should fix fish at home more often. It’s easy, quick… this recipe is no different. Other than the fish, the ingredients are a little butter & flour, sherry vinegar, capers and cornichons, something I now have in my refrigerator thanks to FFWD.


This is a quick pan-saute of the fish fillets that have been dredged in a light coating of seasoned flour. The fillets get cooked until lightly browned, just a few minutes.


These can be set aside or kept in a warm oven. The pan is quickly wiped out, butter added and browned. The sherry vinegar is poured into the pan and quickly reduces, and then the remaining sauce ingredients are incorporated.


The dish is assembled by placing the fish on top of a “pillow” of something soft, like mashed potatoes or celery root. I went with potatoes here, but I can see other whipped vegetables as a nice, light alternative. Finally, the fish is sauced, and served.


I thought this was quite good, and loved the brown butter combined with the sharp vinegary elements of capers and mustard. I liked the cornichons well enough, but would agree that they were not really necessary with the capers already in the dish, plus it was a different kind of texture. All in all, quite a successful dish, that I should remember to make again, or at least a version.


And finally, Dorie suggests to “forget about” leftovers. Well, I had some, and it was pretty tasty. Hardly party fare, but certainly tasty enough on a busy night.

If you’d like to see what others came up with, you can find their links here.

10 thoughts on “ffwd – skate (tilapia) with capers, cornichons and brown butter sauce

  1. I’ll have to look for Skate on menus, too. I had no idea it was a type of ray. But, luckily, this recipe was easy to adapt to other kinds of fish – perfect with potatoes!

  2. Your fish cooked up lovely and golden. I also had leftovers, and they tasted just as good. I have never had skate, and sadly, many of the specialist fishmongers here had staff who’d never heard of it – from the looks on their faces, I am sure they thought I was making it up.

  3. I must try and get to this recipe. I had fish almost every night on my cruise. They had a sauce that went with each dish which is why I think it tastes so goo. You make it look easy so I should get to it.

  4. Looks wonderful with the tilapia! I didn’t serve mine over anything…just on the side! Loved this dish! I had one skate leftover…so the next day I slightly heated it, and served it on top of a salad. It was very good! Have a great weekend, Candy!

  5. Another good substitute fish suggestion – tilapia. I am not even sure I knew that Skate was a fish and I sure as heck never knew you could eat any part of a stingray. I did really love this week’s recipe, however, once I found my fleshy white fish. Like you, I wondered why I don’t make fish more often. I’m always happy (and, full) when I do. I also felt pretty self-righteous when I made the frittata – a nutritious breakfast, for sure. Trader Joe’s carried cornichons so when I lived in Las Vegas I always kept them in the fridge. Now, I still do since Whole Foods carries a good brand. It’s just a little reminder of France everytime I open the refrigerator. Glad you enjoyed this week’s recipe also.

  6. My fish guy said that skate is highly perishable and that is why he didn’t want to order it for me in the summer. Might also explain why you’ve only seen it in coastal towns. Luckily for all of us, this sauce seems to go well with just about anything. Your version looks delicious.

  7. I like all the fish substitutions everyone came up with.
    This is a great weeknight meal – I just wish I would think of it on those busy nights!

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