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Daring Cooks - Skate, Traditional Flavours Powdered

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I'm finally brave enough to join The Daring Kitchen - just the Daring Cooks for the time being. The July 2009 challenge is hosted by Sketchy, from Sketchy's Kitchen and he chose skate with traditional flavours powdered as the challenge. It is a dish from Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook (pg. 230).

I was quite excited when I saw the recipe because it involves a technique totally new to me. Worried, when I started studying the recipe. Here's Sketchy's list of ingredients:

  • 4 skate wings
  • Beurre monte
  • 300g fresh green beans
  • sea salt/kosher salt
  • 1 banana
  • 454g butter - 4 sticks
  • 300g lemons
  • 5g citric acid/vitamin c tablet
  • 150g cilantro
  • 150g parsley
  • 100g dried banana chips
  • 300g spray dried cream powder (or powdered milk)
  • 100g cup minced red onion
  • 200g capers (brined, not oil)

Skate? Is that stingray? I have not seen that before in our local supermarkets. Beurre Monte? 454g of butter?? WOW. Spray dried cream powder? Never heard of that. A dehydrator and a chinois? What?!

Anyhow, I went ahead and dried the ingredients using a microwave instead of a dehydrator. Although microwaving is easy and fast, I would suggest making the powders a few days beforehand because of the burning issue. After burning onions and lemon zest, I figured the best method is to microwave the ingredients at defrost mode rather than at medium powder. I substituted spray dried cream powder with semi-skimmed milk powder and only used 150g because 300g is way too much powder! Or was it 30g milk powder on the recipe?? No, it's clearly 300g. Oh, and I managed to get some skate wings from Tesco! So, here's my list of ingredients:

All ingredients: serves 3
Adapted from Sketchy's recipe

  • 700g (about 3) skate wings
  • 280g green beans
  • Beurre monte: 250g unsalted butter + 35 ml water
  • 3 bananas - peeled and sliced
  • 100g red onion
  • 200g (drained weight) capers (get those in brine/ vinegar)
  • 300g (about 3) lemons
  • 5g vitamin C tablet
  • Simple syrup: 2 cups sugar + 1 cup water
  • 150g coriander
  • 150g parsley
  • 150g semi-skimmed milk powder
  • 100g dried bananas
  • Salt
I started with the powders and prepared them a few days before. I microwaved the ingredients at different time intervals because I wasn't sure of the exact drying times and tossed them around with a spoon at each interval. I used a coffee grinder to grind the dried ingredients and passed the powders through a sieve.

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 10

Onion/ Caper powder

  • 100g red onion - coarsely chopped
  • 200g (drained weight) capers (in brine/ vinegar) - wash and dried with paper towels


  • Microwave, power setting: medium
  • Onion, microwave time: 5m, 5m, 2m, 1m, 2m, 2m, total = 17 min
  • Capers, microwave time: 1m, 1m, 1m, 1.5m, 1.5m, 2m, 2m, 2m, 2m, 1m, 1m, 1m, 1m, 1m, 1m, 30s, 1m, total = 21 min 30 sec
  • Grind and sift the powder. Mix both powder.


  • Not a good idea mincing the red onions as they burn easily, so I chopped them coarsely the 2nd round and got better result.
  • Use defrost mode rather than medium power.

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 01

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 02

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 03

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 04

Citrus powder

  • 300g (about 3) lemons' zest
  • Simple syrup (1 cup water, 2 cups sugar)
  • 5g vitamin C tablet


  • Poach lemons zest in simple syrup 3 times. Dry with paper towels.
  • Microwave, power setting: medium
  • Lemon's zest, microwave time: 4m, 2m, 2m, total = 8 mins
  • Grind with vit C and sift the powder.


  • Discard the burnt bits.
  • Use defrost mode rather than medium power.

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 05

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 06

Coriander/ Parsley powder

  • 150g coriander - stems removed
  • 150g parsley - stems removed


  • Blanch the herbs (separately) in boiling salt-water for 1 second, submerge the leaves in ice water for 3 minutes.
  • Dry with salad spinner.
  • Microwave, defrost mode. Lesson learnt.
  • Parsley, microwave time: 1m, 1m, 1m, 1.5m, 1.5m, 2.5m, 2.5m, 1.5m, 1.5m, total = 14 mins
  • Coriander, microwave time: 3m, 3m, 1.5m, 1.5m, 1.5m, 1.5m, 1.5m, 1.5m, total = 15 mins
  • Grind and sift the powder. Mix both powder.

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 07

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 09

They looked so much better, like fried crispy seaweed after microwaving at defrost mode.

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 08

Brown butter

  • 150g semi-skimmed milk powder
  • 100g dried bananas


  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Sift a thin layer of milk powder onto a parchment paper and bake at 180°C for 4mins.
  • Repeat for the rest of the milk powder.
  • Grind the dried bananas, sift and mix with toasted milk powder.
For skate & green beans:

  • 700g (about 3) skate wings - cut into "V" shaped serving portions, 1 wing can be cut into a few pieces
  • 280g green beans - sliced into 2 mm rounds
  • 250g unsalted butter - cubed and cold
  • 35 ml water

For beurre monte:

  • In a saucepan, bring 35 ml water to boil.
  • Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the butter 1 cube at a time. This should form an emulsion.
  • Return to low heat and keep whisking in the rest of the butter. This is your poaching liquid stock (beurre monte). There should be about 240g of beurre monte.
For green beans:

  • In another pot, bring 70g water, 70g beurre monte, and green beans to a boil over high heat.
  • Cook until the water has evaporated. Supposed to cook for only 3 mins, but I left it for longer as there was still a lot of liquid.
  • Remove from heat and season with salt.
For skate:

  • Bring the rest of the beurre monte and 170g water to simmer over medium heat.
  • Add enough skate wings to fill the pan without overlapping them, simmer for 2 mins.
  • Remove the pan from heat and flip the wings over and let rest in pan for 2 mins. Transfer to a warm tray lined with parchment paper and season with salt.
  • Repeat for the rest of the skate.

  • I used half the amount of beurre monte as suggested as 450g of butter is a lot of butter! And it was only going to be used as poaching liquid. I halved it and just poached the fish in batches.


  • Place about 1/2 tsp of the citrus powder, the onion-caper powder, and the cilantro parsley-powder on a side of a plate. I placed them in a triangular shape.
  • Swirl a spoon through these powders to make a hurricane type pattern. Not as easy as I imagined.
  • On the other side of the plate, place sliced bananas, followed by green beans and then place the skate on top of the green beans.
  • Sprinkle brown butter on skate.

The dish looked really pretty after plating.

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 13

The combination of flavours sounded a bit bizarre with so many different powders. Bananas and fish? Hmm...weird. But to our surprise, they worked really well together. The only complaint I got from the Wild Boar was the amount of bananas, but I just realised it was my fault - I was supposed to 'peel the remaining banana into very think slices (3mm) fan three slices on the plate'. Oops...he didn't finish the bananas anyway. Apart from the citrus powder, I have lots of leftover powder. I've been sprinkling the brown butter powder on my oats and cereal, onion/caper powder for pastas, coriander/ parsley powder for stir-fries and get the idea.

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 11

Overall, the dish was really interesting with wonderful textures and flavours. It was fun eating (not so much making) all the powders and it reminded me of Heston Blumenthal's The Sound of The Sea at The Fat Duck. I think that was my only 'powder experience' as far as I can remember. All in all, a great challenge!

Skate Traditional Flavors Powdered 12

34 oink oinks...:

lisaiscooking said...

Wow, the powders sound very cool. I'd love to try working with some. Looks like you did a great job with the dish!

abby said...

brilliant, well done! especially good as it was your first challenge.

jill elise said...

oh good for you. I skipped out on this challenge, I just couldn't get motivated to do it. Nor could I find skate, and I just couldn't bring myself to stand forever in front of our very touchy microwave dehydrating everything. Yours looks beautiful and makes me a little bummed I missed out, but oh well! Very good job, it was a tough first challenge!

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

great job...i still have cold feet still in the contemplation mode to join DB...;p

Sweet Kitchen said...

Congratulations on completing your first challenge! It was my first too and it was a doozy of a recipe for a newbie. You did an amazing job - the pictures look great!

KennyT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KennyT said...

This is very interesting and new to me. I have never seen/had a dish with lots of special and yummy looking powder. And I have never tried a skate before, even dunno how to differentiate a skate from a stingray, haha.

lisamichele said...

What a fantastic job on your first challenge. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos, and your plated final presentation, along with the powders, is stunning! Well done!

Marta said...

Oh wow, you have outdone yourself! You went through a lot of work for this recipe and I'm sure it paid off, it looks delicious! I love fish, I love powdered flavour. The two must be divine!!!
Yay for you being a Daring Cook!

Lizzie said...

Oh my god - Skate and banana? I couldn't think of anything worse. It looks beautiful though.

singinghorse said...

Beautiful beautiful photos and the post is so informative. You did such a great job!

The Duo Dishes said...

Daring indeed! You handled the challenge very well though. Looks like someone is ready to accept anything thrown at her.

Barbara Bakes said...

I had such fun reading your post! I wasn't able to participate this month. Great job!

Soma said...

Sounds very very complicated, but looks very very pretty. Kudos to you!

doggybloggy said...

the powders and powder ideas are super cool I think you are very creative in how you dried them... great dish!

Jenn said...

Nicely done. I agree with everyone else. You're a daring cook, indeed!!

Elra said...

Wow, daring indeed. You out done yourself, look how beautiful this skate is. Well done!

climbhighak said...

I had to laugh at Lizzie's comment above.

Your dish and photos of it both turned out amazing.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That looks beautiful but very, very dring! I kept reading and reading when I saw the recipe. I think I would have been scared off! :o

Reeni♥ said...

What a beautiful dish! It sure sounds like a lot of work - I've never seen anything like this before today!

Hummingbird Appetite said...

You're heading into professional cook territory. Kudos to you!

Bob said...

Looks intriguing. I don't think I can get skate around here.

Angie's Recipes said...

Looks truly attractive....

Angie's Recipes

katie said...

so very daring...banana is interesting, i agree. I am relentlessly trying to find more places for it in cuisine.

Audax said...

Wow what a perfect posting all those pixs and full instructions. And the final results are stunning. Wonderous and bravo to you. Kudos. Cheers Audax

Donna-FFW said...

Your plating looks absolutely amazing. Love the way you were so creative. Nicely, so nicely done!

♥peachkins♥ said...

stunning photos. I love the first one.

Jo said...

Congrats on Daring Kitchen! I haven't been brave enough yet and can only handle Daring Bakers for the time being. This dish looks really interesting and you are right that it looks great after plating.

Girl Japan: April Marie Claire said...

Oh goodness, very interesting PPC, I belong to Daring Bakers and I will not dare treed over to Daring Kitchen... I am so not ready for that yet... you make it look so easy..

Laura said...

Good job on your first challenge! It looks like everything turned out well. :)

Nags said...

omg! that seems complicated but the final dish is so pretty!

Chef E said...

Wow that last pic is like a piece of art...I have made skate many times, but it is so delicate, so I can see doing this...just give me capers, and some lemon in a hot skillet, and I would call it a night, no I mean a meal...

Olga said...

Congrats on completing the challenge! I totally chickened out :)

BIg Boys Oven said...

very interesting, unique in many ways! :)

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