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Skate wing smells of ammonia

Skate wing smells of ammonia
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  • Skate wing smells of ammonia

    Post #1 - February 23rd, 2010, 8:05 pm
    Post #1 - February 23rd, 2010, 8:05 pm Post #1 - February 23rd, 2010, 8:05 pm
    Yesterday I bought a skake wing fish at a Vietnamese market on Broadway.

    Tonight I boiled it briefly (Traditional cooking method) and when I pulled it out it strongly stank of ammonia. Really bad. Like a cat litter that had gone for a week w/o being cleaned.

    Has anyone ever heard of this? Are some fish treated with some ammonia based chemicals?
  • Post #2 - February 23rd, 2010, 8:15 pm
  • Post #3 - February 23rd, 2010, 9:58 pm
    Post #3 - February 23rd, 2010, 9:58 pm Post #3 - February 23rd, 2010, 9:58 pm
    marcwitham wrote:Has anyone ever heard of this?

    Yes.

    marcwitham wrote:Are some fish treated with some ammonia based chemicals?

    No. Fish sometimes smells of ammonia when it has spoiled.
  • Post #4 - February 24th, 2010, 4:04 am
    Post #4 - February 24th, 2010, 4:04 am Post #4 - February 24th, 2010, 4:04 am
    Animals have evolved different strategies for handling the nitrogen which is a byproduct of protein metabolism. We eliminate it in our urine. Elasmobranchs (sharks, rays, & skates) store urea in their cells rather than eliminate it. This aids in their buoyancy - they lack the air bladder found in fishes.

    The piece you purchased may or may not be spoiled, but the ammonia smell could be from the urea. I alway soak skate and shark in milk which is a powerful neutralizer. Milk also reduces the odors from rotting so soaking fish in milk is an old trick used by restaurants to avoid having to throw out fish past its prime.
  • Post #5 - February 24th, 2010, 4:56 pm
    Post #5 - February 24th, 2010, 4:56 pm Post #5 - February 24th, 2010, 4:56 pm
    LTH,

    Isaccson and Stein brings in some of the freshest and most beautiful skate wings that you'll ever see. They don't have it every day, but do carry it often.

    Absolutely pristine. No soaking necessary. Whole wings from about 12 oz to pound and a half in size.

    Last week, I cut each wing in half, seasoned with Old Bay, buttermilk dipped, and then dredged in a mix of flour and cornmeal, before pan frying in peanut oil seasoned with bacon fat. Remoulade sauce included dill pickle, capers, and whole grain mustard.

    I love the crunchy cartilage.

    :twisted:
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #6 - February 24th, 2010, 5:51 pm
    Post #6 - February 24th, 2010, 5:51 pm Post #6 - February 24th, 2010, 5:51 pm
    We've also bought skate at Fox & Obel and it was very good.
  • Post #7 - February 25th, 2010, 7:57 am
    Post #7 - February 25th, 2010, 7:57 am Post #7 - February 25th, 2010, 7:57 am
    I have purchased skate wing several times at Fresh Farms in Niles,
    and it has always been fresh, with no odor.
    In fact, I often ask to smell all fish before I purchase it,
    having thrown out too much fish in the past.
    The will also filet the skate off the cartilage for you if asked,
    although they occasionally look at me funny when I ask...

    I usually dredge it in seasoned flour and saute in a combo of butter/EVOO
    It's one fish thet even the picky eaters at home will eat.
    Just delish...
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #8 - February 25th, 2010, 8:19 am
    Post #8 - February 25th, 2010, 8:19 am Post #8 - February 25th, 2010, 8:19 am
    Worst case, you can mop the floor with it.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #9 - June 21st, 2020, 12:16 pm
    Post #9 - June 21st, 2020, 12:16 pm Post #9 - June 21st, 2020, 12:16 pm
    HI,

    Are people preparing their skate skin-on or skin-off?

    I removed the dark skin with all the spikes. What a job, next time the fish guy will do this.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - June 27th, 2020, 2:19 pm
    Post #10 - June 27th, 2020, 2:19 pm Post #10 - June 27th, 2020, 2:19 pm
    Hi,

    Thankfully there was no odor of ammonia in the skate wing I bought recently at Joong Boo in Glenview. It is certainly good to know to keep an eye out for it.

    The week before I had bought a whole flounder, which only needed gutting and descaling. I cooked it in a 12-inch frying pan with perhaps one cup of oil. I would tip the pan, spoon hot oil over various surfaces and used the tail to move the fish about. The tail worked well until I shifted the fish to cook the tail area. When I grabbed the tail next, well the tail was in my hand but the fish fell back into the pan. After frying on both sides for no more than 12-minutes, I removed the fish to a heated platter. I made a simple sauce with some oil, ginger, garlic and wine, then served it.

    This experience emboldened my interest in cooking fish. What I had hoped for last week was not a skate wing, but a fresh killed carp. I wanted to replicate a meal I made in Moscow. I did not find what I wanted, I settled on skate wing because I had liked it in the past and it was not very expensive.

    The counter person and I had a language barrier in simply selecting the fish. Perhaps he could have advised about the spiky black skin needing removal, but I was not aware and perhaps he could not explain. When I first encountered these little clusters of spikes, I thought perhaps I could fry them crisp and they would be a nice texture. I hunted around the internet to find not one example of anyone keeping the dark skinned side. I found one anecdote of a spike piercing someone's hand with a lightening bolt pain reaction.

    I spent at least 30 minutes peeling back the skin and carefully rolling it on itself to avoid getting spiked. I used a boning knife to make tiny cuts to separate the skin from the flesh. The tips of the skate wing are so slim, it was barely worth the effort to keep any flesh. I trimmed the very edges away. The learning experience take away: I will never leave the fish guy without getting this skin removed first.

    I am aware of the classic preparations for skate wing, but tossed that aside to make Skate Wing a la Chinese Brown Sauce. Fortunately, this is not a strong flavored fish and my family had no built in expectations. I did what I wanted.

    I seared the skate flesh-side down first for about a minute, then flipped to the white skinned side for another two minutes. All during this time, I spooned hot oil over the fish. After three minutes, I removed the fish to a platter, then added garlic, ginger and bamboo shoots to the pan. Once fragrant, I added back the fish and pour over it a mixture of water, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sugar and salt. Brought to a hard boil, then reduced temperature to a moderate boil while spooning liquid over the fish. After about 10-minutes, I added some green onions and cilantro.

    It was quite a nice tasting dish with a mild flavored fish who could accept the abuse. Of course, my Dad preferred the flounder, because he favors crispy textures. one these days when I get my hands on a freshly killed carp, I will be thrilled to revisit this memory.

    The next skate wing will be treated like a Queen Bee with butter, capers and wine. It will be an interesting contrast.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - June 27th, 2020, 4:50 pm
    Post #11 - June 27th, 2020, 4:50 pm Post #11 - June 27th, 2020, 4:50 pm
    If skate smells of ammonia it is a decomposition product.
    I only purchase skate filleted these days and the smell must be pristine.
    Brown butter sauce with capers, sublime.
    I have had good luck at Fresh Farms Touhy.
    -Richard

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