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Skate with Capers and Browned Butter

Classic French cooking technique

Serves four

4, 5 to 6-ounce boneless skate wings

About 1 quart water or more to cover the fish

1/2 cup red wine vinegar for poaching

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

For the brown butter/caper sauce:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 to 1/2 cup capers, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Fistful of flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare:
Place the skate in a large deep skillet over moderate high heat that can hold the fish in one layer. Add enough water and vinegar to cover the fish. Add thyme, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and poach, partially covered, for three minutes, RAISE the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Immediately set the pan off the heat and let it continue to cook until the fish is white, about five minutes. With a slotted spatula carefully lift fish out, drain on paper towels, and transfer to warm dinner plates.

Meanwhile, in a non-reactive saucepan over moderate heat, melt the butter until it becomes aromatic (smells like roasted nuts) and turns the color of a brown paper bag about seven to eight minutes. Set the pan off the heat; carefully add capers, vinegar, parsley, and pepper and stir to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Spoon the sauce over skate and serve with brown rice pilaf.