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Thread: Skates - Cleaning and Cooking?

  1. #1

    Question Skates - Cleaning and Cooking?

    All right, We have caught several skates and always released them. I have been told several times that they are very good eating and might try one this year. Can anyone offer any cleaning advice or recipes for these guys? Thanks in advance,


  2. #2


    Never done it myself, but had a friend who worked on a factory longline boat who says all they did was cut the wings off. The wings were then sent through a cookie cutter type machine that stamped out little circles of meat. That's what they market as "Sea-scallops". They are offered in many restaurants as scallops. That's the reason I very rarely pay for a scallop dinner unless I know for sure they are real scallops. For the uninitiated though, they probably can't tell a difference. Having eaten "Sea-scallops" before, they aren't all that bad so good luck.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK


    I've been meaning to post pictures of how I clean them on the forums, but haven't been out to catch any this year. Anyhow, you can fillet the wings much like you would a regular fish. Feel along the middle of the wing for the bones, and just follow those with your knife like you would the backbone on a salmon. After that, just fillet away from the middle until the meat runs out (1-2 inches from the edge of the wing there will not be any more meat).

    We just sautee them in garlic butter, much like halibut cheeks. They're really good eating, though the texture is a bit different (kind of stringy - again like halibut cheeks). These are most certainly not "trash fish", but are actually quite good eating! Enjoy!!

  4. #4


    Halibut cheeks is a good comparison Brian. Been eating them for almost 40 years, including species all up and down the West Coast, and I'm yet to find one that had either the taste or texture of scallops. The California bat ray came closest, but it still wouldn't pass as scallop unless it was cut really small and breaded to within an inch of its life.

    In addition to garlic butter, we also use them in fish chowder. If you wanna make the chowder something really special, use canned coconut milk rather than moo juice.

  5. #5


    The easiest way to tell real scallops from skate is that real scallops meat runs up and down and skate is sideways.

  6. #6
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default A little confused

    The one time I tried it it was like you said....down the center of the wing was a bony/cartilage type plate. I filetted the meat off each side. What I had left was small tubes of meat (about the thickness of my pinky finger)attached to the skin of the wing. I seperated these and actually sliced them across so that what I ended up with were what looked like the small bay scallops you see at Cars/Safeway.

    The bottom line was that they were tasty in chowder.

    I heard of the cookie cutter deal, but seeing the tubes of meat I can't figure out how you'd use a cookie cutter.

    BTW, speaking of cheeks...I'm always amazed at folks who leave these on the carcass and never salvage them. Hell, I take the cheeks off halibut, links...just about any fish out there. When I was a kid, we'd even take the cheeks out of walleyes and Sauger no matter how small (same deal with halibut). We'd keep one bag in the freezer and just keep adding to it. The final meal was fantastic! Even though some of the cheeks were only the size of a fingernail.
    We also would ice fish for Yellow Perch. We'd catch a buttload and would spend the night filleting each one. While they were bite sized fillets (O.K. maybe some were two bites) they tasted just like walleye...maybe even better.

    O.K..........I'm done.

  7. #7


    Salmon cheeks are the best of the best in our book. Can't get enough of them. Used to stand at the tub of heads in a cannery and cut cheeks on breaks many years ago. Filled many a quart ziplok in spare moments, sure wish I had access to that many heads every year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Cooking skates

    I guess it depends on the species, but on a cooking web site forum they were discussing how to cook skates and whether you needed to fillet out the cartilage. Someone said to go ahead and cook it with the cartilage in and then just peel the meat off the cartilage.

    We used to get small rays (not sure what the difference is from skates) and just fillet and skin the wings, then grill them on the barbecue and eat them dipped in butter, and they tasted pretty close to lobster. They have a lot of nerves or veins or something in the flesh, and those turn kind of purple when it cooks, which is kind of disconcerting until you realize there's no flavor or stringiness to them.

    I can't imagine how anyone could stamp out skate discs and fool anyone into thinking they're scallops. We caught some huge scallops out in the Bering Sea, and the meat on them looks pretty pure compared to a skate's flesh.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Slimy Mess

    I've cleaned on once about the same as everyone describes, the problem however was their slime is a thick mess. IMO it's worse than Halibut slime. If you don't mind a mess and a little extra work they are pretty tasty.


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