The Challenge: Skate, traditional flavors powdered

Daring Cooks July 2009 Challenge: The Challenge: Skate, traditional flavors powdered (slightly altered)

Hosted by Sketchy of Sketchy’s Kitchen

This is a dish from chef Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook – page 230.It is basically skate fish wings served with powdered flavors that you dehydrate and prepare yourself. I picked a recipe that could be completed without having to order a bunch of specialized chemicals or powders. Just a little work and you can make this, the techniques are not very hard and only require a few tools.

To download the recipe in .pdf format, click HERE


Beurre monté refers to melted butter that remains emulsified, even at temperatures higher than that at which butter usually breaks down. (the technique for preparing it is included in the challenge)

We will prepare 4 powders in this challenge:
caper / onion
lemon powder
cilantro/parsley powder
‘brown butter’ powder
They all need to be prepared ahead of time. Before cooking the skate wings

Once dried, all powders should be pulsed in a coffee grinder/spice mill/morter and pestle then passed through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.

Onto the recipe:

Skate, Traditional Flavors Powderedwith changes



  • 4 skate wings
  • * Beurre monte (preparation technique follows)
  • * 300g fresh green beans slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)
  • sea salt/kosher salt
  • 1 banana
  • 454g butter – 4 sticks
  • 300g lemons
  • 5g citric acid/vitamin c tablet
  • 150g cilantro
  • 150g parsley
  • 100g dried banana chips
  • 300g spray dried cream powder (or powdered milk)
  • 100g cup minced red onion
  • 200g capers (brined, not oil)

* Beurre Monte
454g butter (4 sticks, 1 pound) cubed and cold
60g water

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the butter 1 cube at a time.
This should from an emulsion.
Keep this heated, but under 195 degrees.
The emulsion will not break – this is your poaching liquid.

The powdered flavors

The powdered flavors

Citrus powder

300g lemons
1000g simple syrup
5g citric acid/vitamin c tablet

zest 300g of lemons (10.6 oz).
Remove the pith from the zest and poach in the simple syrup three times.
Dry with paper towels and move to a dehydrating tray. 130 for 12 hours.
Pulse the zest in a coffee grinder, pass through chinois, and mix with citric acid/vitamin C powder.

If you do not have a dehydrator, place in microwave for 8 to 10 minutes at medium powder. Once dried, follow the other instructions.

Cilantro/parsley powder

150g cilantro
150g parsley

Blanch the parsley in boiling saltwater for 1 second.
Submerge the leaves in ice water for 3 minutes.
Dry on paper towels and place on dehydrator tray. 130 for 12 hours.

Blanch the parsley in boiling saltwater

Grind and pass through chinois.

Grind and pass through chinois

If you do not have a dehydrator, place in microwave for 30 seconds, turn over leaves and microwave for another thirty seconds. They should be dry by now, pulse in coffee grinder, pass through chinois and reserve.

Onion powder

100g cup minced red onions

Dehydrator – 130 for 12 hours
Microwave at medium power for 20 minutes.
Pulse in grinder, pass through chinois

Caper powder

200g capers (get the ones packed in brine/vinegar)

Run the capers under cold water for two minutes to remove some of the brine.
Dry on paper towels and dehydrate for 12 hours at 130 degrees.
If you do not have a dehydrator. Dry the capers as much a possible with paper towels.
Microwave on medium for 1 minute.
Check the moisture content and stir them.
Repeat for 30 second intervals until they are dry.
If you use this method, please post the time needed to dry the capers.

Once dry, pulse and sift the powder. Mix it with the onion powder.

Brown Butter powder

100g Dried banana chips (unsweetened if possible – many are coated in honey – the freeze dried ones would be brilliant)
300g spray dried cream powder

If you cannot find the cream powder, you can substitute Bob’s red mill non fat dry milk powder, or even carnation instant milk powder. The substitutions will alter the flavor a little, but you will still get the general idea.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, sift the cream powder into a fine layer on a silpat or on parchment.
Bake for 4 minutes, then remove for heat. If it bakes for too long, it will burn. Be very cautious with all powders in the oven. They all go from browned to burnt in a few seconds.

Grind the banana chips in a coffee grinder and mix with the toasted cream powder. Pass this through a chinois and reserve.



50G skate wing ( v shaped cuts are recommended)
200 g water divided
400 g beurre monte divided
Green beans
3 g salt

Bring 100g water, 100g beurre monte, and green bean rounds to a boil over high heat.
Cook until the water has evaporated (about 3 minutes)
When the pan is almost dry, remove it from heat and season with 3g salt


Bring 300g water and 300g beurre monte to simmer over medium heat
Add skate wings and simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat and flip the wing over and let rest in pan for two more minutes.
Transfer to warming tray lined with parchment and season with 5 grams of fine sea salt.



Take the tip of a small spoon and make a small mound of the citrus powder, the onion-caper powder, and the cilantro parsley-powder.
Swirl these around in a hurricane type pattern. I found that it is easier, and you get finer lines if you lightly shake the plate to flatten out the mounds, then swirl the spoon through it to get the pattern.

Place green beans

Peel the remaining banana into very think slices (3mm)
Fan three slices on the plate
Place green beans on top and place skate wing portion on top.
On the tall edge, sprinkle the brown butter powder.

The Skate can be replaced with flounder or cod.
If you can get skate that is not ‘prepared’ IE – Skinned- get the fish monger to prepare it for you.

The powdered cream can be omitted completely, just replace it with more banana powder, or pineapple powder. Possibly non dairy creamer, but I have NO idea what would happen if you tried to brown it.

The poaching liquid is pretty much butter – it could be replaced with other poaching methods. Water, wine, bay leaf, garlic clove, pepper, etc. Try to go easy on the salt in the liquid if you use a replacement.

Disclaimer – the sample dish was made with cod because Skate was not available at the time in Richmond. Whole Foods usually carries it. Check your fish markets before you head out to buy some.

Alinea Cookbook
Grant Achatz