Wingin´it, Asa de raia frita com aioli de pimentao extra picante e Raia alhada

 Asa de raia frita com aioli de pimentao extra picante,
deep-fried skate wing with smoked paprika aioli

People are scared of skate, one of the finest and most delicious fish of all. But don't be: the flesh slides away from those ribby, gelatinous bones with simplicity and ease, so do give it a try.It is such an underrated fish and one which is usually seen pan fried with capers and burnt butter.Nothing wrong with that, but can´t one create something a little different and  a tad more interesting? Its just another fish and its as versatile as any but with the advantage of being quite different in it´s texture and shape.There are two schools of thought on when to cook skate.One is to wait until it smells lightly of ammonia, the other is to use it as fresh as possible.Here I have put up two contrasting methods of cooking Skate (Raia).the first from Renowned New Zealander Peter Gordon and the second from The Algarve, our dearly loved angel of Cabanas Chef Noélia. 
 Get your fishmonger to remove the skate´s leathery outer skin and cut the flesh from the cartilage for you.Skinning a skate at home is definitely a black art, and best left to skilled practitioners.For those of you who cant be  doing with all this,there are many supermarkets now selling frozen skate wings  already cleaned and prepared in this way.I actually used two frozen skate wings from Lidl, for this recipe and the fish was delicious.In this recipe the fish makes a stunning centrepiece on the plate but is the deep frying method the wrong one for this choice of fish? We were divided in our views here, but I would be very interested to hear anyone else´s view if you try it.
Skate(raia) is a popular choice of fish  in the Algarve. In Olhão, the fishermen bring fresh fish and seafood straight from the coast to residents' and restaurant diners´ tables every day. There is one dish although not exclusively regional,but nevertheless a dish specially prepared by some local gastronomic experts, who manage to bring to the table,something which provides for even the most inexperienced palate  and certainly for me a more than pleasurable dish.
The "Raia Alhada" is one of the typical dishes of Olhão.For some, its gelatinous quality puts them off,but for me it is fish heaven and the one who brings out its best is chef Noélia.Her cooking is a blend of Algarvian cuisine blended with her own creativity and  subtle tones of the Mediterranean.What gives her that all important signature is the way she serves dishes directly from their tradition, such as, for example, this raia alhada. Finding a chef who does the traditional dishes well is already  a reason to be happy. But I confess that what I like the most and what makes the difference, what pushes it up a notch, is that Noelia is able to pick up the traditional Algarve matrix and, without undoing it, create new dishes that are bursting with flavour.Lunch or dinner at Noélia´s is always a joy. In the kitchen there is always Noelia, a tireless worker,with a beautiful and friendly presence,spreading her culinary creative magic and making her diners happy by putting the colour and flavours of the Algarve on their plates.
Raia alhada de Noélia
You can´t get more typically Algarvian than this.
400g of Skate
5 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
4 potatoes,washed and peeled
Coarse Flor de sal
Large handful of coriander

Wash the skate well in running water and leave to marinade in Flor de sal for at least 2 hours.
Put the salted Skate in a pan with boiling water and the potatoes. Leave it on the flame until the potatoes are cooked
Prepare the sauce separately in a container with the crushed garlic, olive oil, vinegar, coriander, and 3 tablespoons of hot stock from the pan cooking the Skate.When the potatoes and skate are cooke drain the water and add the separately prepared coriander and garlic sauce.Return the pan to the flame and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes.Serve immediately from the pan.

Deep-fried skate wing with smoked paprika aioli
( adapted from a recipe by Peter Gordon)
serves 6 as a main course 
6 300-350g skate wings,prepared as described above 
1/2 cup plain flour for dusting the fish
sunflower oil for deep frying
3 limes

Beer batter
11/2 cups plain flour
2 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Flor de sal
2 tsp demerara sugar
1 tsp baking powder
230ml bottle beer at room temperature

Smoked paprika aioli

2 egg yolks
1 egg white
1/2 tsp flor de sal
50ml lime juice
4 cloves garlic peeled
1 tsp seed mustard
3 tsp smoked paprika
400ml olive oil
Fill a deep fryer with oil and leave to heat to the required temperature (185ªC)
Meanwhile,take the dry ingredients for the batter and whisk in a bowl for a few seconds to mix. Add all the beer and whisk it in,starting from the inside and working out.
Make sure there are no lumps and leave the batter to stand for 15 minutes.
For the aioli.put the egg yolks and white,salt,lime juice,garlic,mustard and smoked paprika  into a small food processor and purée for 1 minute. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil (not extra virgin),making sure it is absorbed and the aioli does not separate.If it does separate,transfer 100ml to another bowl,add one more egg yolk and whisk well.once it has taken,whisk the remaining mixture in gradually.
lightly dust the skate wings with flour and dip them,one by one,into the batter.Hold them above the batter and let the excess drip back into the mixture,then place them carefully one at a time into the fryer.if you overcrowd it the temperature will drop and the batter will not crisp.They should take 2-3 minutes eac to cook.drain on absorbent papaer and serve with home made chips and peas or wild rocket or watercress. Serve dollops of the aioli sitting on top of 1/2 a lime.


  1. Think there's a wee problem with the salt in the aioli...

  2. Thank you for drawing this to my attention.I do apologise that it was a typing error and I have now amended it.I am very sorry if it inconvenienced you in anyway.We endeavour to proof read all these posts but sometimes things slip through.

  3. No problem, want to have your aioli with Xmas dinner. I usually make mayo with 50/50 olive oil/groundnut - find 100% olive oil can be a bit overwhelming. However, maybe with the garlic and pimenton might be OK

  4. 100% olive oil can be overwhelming.I normally use 50/50 olive oil/sunflower oil.


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