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Skate with Preserved Lemon and Green Olives (Hout Bil Laymoun M’Rakade Wal Zeytoun)

Claudia Roden

by Claudia Roden from Arabesque

For an unusual fish dish, this skate recipe is a must. From the Arabesque cookbook, the pan fried skate is cooked with lemons and green olives. Simply divine!

From the book

Claudia Roden


All kinds of white fish fillets can be cooked in this way but I am particularly fond of skate ‘wings’ with these flavours. The flesh is fine and delicate and easily parts from the layer of soft cartilaginous ‘ribs’. Small skate wings can be sauteed but the thicker, more prized wings of the larger fish must be poached (see variations below).

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4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 small skate wings, skinned (weighing about 1 kg)
Juice of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 preserved lemon, chopped
8-12 large green olives, stoned and chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley or coriander
1 lemon, cut into quarters, to serve

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Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and put in the skate wings. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook over a low heat for 4 minutes, then turn over, add the lemon juice, and cook for a further 4 minutes or until the flesh begins to come away from the long soft bones. The time depends on the thickness of the wings.

Add the preserved lemon peel and green olives, parsley or coriander and let them heat through in the oil and juices. Serve with the lemon wedges.


For a spicy version using small wings, stir into the oil just before you put in the fish, 2 crushed garlic cloves, a pinch of ground ginger, a pinch of ground cumin and a pinch of ground chilli pepper.

Instead of olives you can add 1-2 tbsp of capers.

If using larger wings, buy 4 thick middle strips weighing about 250g each (they are sold skinned) rather than side wedge pieces. Poach them in salted water, just below simmering point, for 15-20 minutes, then drain thoroughly. Heat the oil and lemon juice with the preserved lemon peel, olives and herbs and pour over the fish.

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