I recently reconnected with an old friend I have not seen in almost twenty years (oh, the wonderful world of facebook) and as a busy working Mum, she asked for recipes that she can "prepare in about half an hour using just one pan". That's exactly the kind of cooking I am forced to do most of the time now, being a full-time student and mother of three... but being pressed for time also means that I can't stop to photograph, so there aren't many recipes I publish. I have trawled through the list of dishes made over the years and found quite a few that fit the bill in at least one of the two categories and I will label them accordingly very soon - look out for a drop-down box on the sidebar entitled "quick fixes" or something along those lines!
This is a wonderfully rustic dish - this is only the second time I ever made skate and I don't know why I don't cook it more... it's one of those fish that are no hassle whatsoever to prepare, nor is it fiddly to eat. You simply roast it in the oven, then literally scrape the meat off the rather peculiar-looking, long and thick bones - no choking on little bones, you're left with just a pile of juicy meat that goes brilliantly with the farm-house style lentils and beans.
Of course, this dish doesn't fit either of the above categories, but it's still worth mentioning - it uses a frying pan and a casserole and it will take about 45 minutes, 30 of which you're free to do whatever you have to: bathe the kids and get them ready for bed, clean out the hen house or just put your feet up with a glass of wine in hand... of course, I couldn't do either of those (I don't have a hen house, for starters), as I had to write down the recipe and get everything set up to take a picture, oh well (I made up for it after ;-))
Roast skate wing on beluga lentils with chorizo, green beans and potatoes
(serves 3-4 people)
1 tbsp olive oil
100 g chorizo (cut into small dice)
1 medium white onion (cut into 1cm chunks)
1 celery stick (cut into 5 mm slices)
100 ml sherry or white wine
150 g green beans (trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces)
250 g black Beluga lentils (ready-to-eat*)
400 g small new potatoes (or cut into 3-4 cm chunks)
ca. 1.5 kg skate wing
drizzle of olive oil
handful of chopped parsley
For home-made aioli: (ingredients must be at room temperature)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt, white pepper
200 g olive oil
Put on the oven at 200C and place the casserole dish with the potatoes (skin on) on the middle shelf.
Heat a non-stick pan on the stove, add the olive oil (if your chorizo is quite juicy and fat, you can do without the oil, it will release enough of its own fat) and fry the chorizo cubes until browning. Add the chopped onion and celery and cook until translucent. Deglaze with the sherry or wine, add the lentils and green beans, then stir through. Add to the casserole and cook for a further 10 minutes in the oven.
Meanwhile, clean the skate wing, season with salt and pepper. Place the fish on top of the vegetables in the casserole, drizzle with olive oil and the juice of the limes. Roast for another 30 - 40 minutes.
Make the aioli. Combine all ingredients except for the oil in a mixing bowl, then, under the constant, vigorous beat of a whisk, pour in the oil in a continuous, tiny stream. Mix until the aioli has set.
If you have a Thermomix, put all the ingredients except for the oil in the bowl with the butterfly whisk, close the lid, have the transparent cup in as well. Set the speed to 4½ and slowly pour the oil onto the transparent cup until all the oil has run down into the bowl. This should take about 90 seconds. Remove the cup before you turn off the blades and push all the oil remaining on the lid to drop in as well.
Serve the skate wing on a bed of lentils, scatter with parsley and serve with some aioli on the side.* We get ready-to-eat sachets from Merchant Gourmet in most supermarkets here - if you don't have this available, pre-cook lentils according to packet instructions, they should still retain some bite!