Big skate, clearnose skate, little skate, rosetta skate, California skate, barndoor skate, winter skate, spreadfin skate, thorny skate, longnose skate, smooth skate, spinytail skate
The bottom-dwelling, kite-shaped skate is found worldwide in temperate and cold waters as well as in deep, tropical waters. Skates are taken with longlines and gillnets, both as a targeted fishery and as bycatch. Fresh skate landed in winter is considered the best. Only the wings of the skate are eaten. It was long believed that skate wings were cut up and sold as scallops. However, experts note that the skate’s cartilage would make the process economically infeasible. Like sharks, skates have no bones, but rather a skeleton of cartilage. Most skates are brown or grayish. Skates are commercially harvested on both coasts of North America. East Coast skates include the clearnose (R. eglanteria), barndoor (R. laevis), little skate (R. erinacea), winter skate (R. ocellata) and the thorny skate (R. radiata). Pacific Coast skates include the big skate (R. binoculata), California skate (R. inornata) and the longnose skate (R. rhina), among others.
Skate has a mildly pronounced flavor similar to scallops. The flesh is soft but firms up after it has been chilled. Raw meat has a slightly off-white, sometimes pinkish, color and cooks up off-white.The meat of the wings, the only edible parts, has a striated, open-fan configuration. Because of the wing structure, skate has a stringy texture. Each wing produces two fillets — one from the upper side and one from the lower.
The wings are composed of strands of flesh, a layer of cartilage and then more strands of flesh. The meat can be removed from the cartilage after it’s cooked, though cooking does soften the cartilage. Skin should be removed before cooking. Try poaching skate in liquid made of water, wine vinegar, a thinly sliced small onion, a bay leaf, parsley and thyme. Serve with browned butter to which capers have been added.
We’ve been working with Mattes Seafood for about 12 years. Their quality is always excellent, their service is great and their pricing is always competitive. If we ever have an issue, Rick takes care of it immediately, no questions asked. If someone else comes in to try to get that business, I tell them they have to beat Mattes on two counts: service and quality – it’s not just based on price.
Gianmarco MartuscelliOwnerChesapeake Inn
I can’t say enough good things about you! I love this place!! Frank and his crew go FAR out of their way to ensure the utmost customer satisfaction. Over the years I’ve put their motto, ‘If it swims we can get it’ to the test, and they never disappoint! They really can get ANYTHING! Truly a chef’s dream. I look forward to continuing to call Mattes Seafood for any and all of my seafood needs.
Mattes Seafood offers high quality product at competitive prices, and the product is the freshest it can be. They are extremely responsive. I don’t know that there’s anyone else out there who does it like they do. They keep us well informed of the market, the weekly opportunities and the different seafood options. If there are issues, they always do a good job of making things right.
Kevin DaviesOwner and Culinary DirectorIron Hill Brewery
Mattes Seafood has been working with Libertore’s in Perry Hall for years. The service provided by Michael Mattes and his company are always exceptional. We have never incurred any problems, we know we can always call even if it is last minute and we will be taken care of. We couldn’t ask for a more reliable vendor. All of their products are always delivered fresh and they are completely able to meet our needs! We are more than happy with the service provided and would love to continue to work wi…
Cosmo SavinoLiberatore's Perry Hall
We use a wide variety of fresh fish every week, and Mattes Seafood’s quality is second to none. They do the best job in the industry. We view Mattes as a partner. They’ve proven to be honest, fair and reliable –we trust them and know they are going to deliver what they say they will.
Dan BethardAssistant Culinary Director and Corporate ChefIron Hill Brewery
Mattes Seafood has been our main Seafood Purveyor for over 20 plus years at The Lancaster Country Club. Their teams commitment to quality and sourcing the freshest fish available is outstanding. I would highly recommend them to anyone.
Greg MyersCEC Executive ChefLancaster Country Club