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Sautéed Skate Cheeks


This may be the easiest seafood we’ve ever cooked, and it tastes great! Cheeks are mild and sweet, and there are so many things you can do with them—eat them simply sautéed, with nothing but butter and lemon; add them to pasta; or even make a fancy presentation with, say, a pea shoot salad with a pancetta vinaigrette. See below for other ideas.



1½ lb skate cheeks

2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

5 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

lemon quarters for serving


Rinse skate cheeks under cold water and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.


Heat a large sauté pan for a minute or so until hot. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. When pan is very hot, add the cheeks to the pan, beginning in a circle around the perimeter and working inward, remembering where you started so that can turn them in the same order. Sauté the cheeks for 1½ to 2 minutes (depending on their size), then turn cheeks in the order in which you placed them in the pan. Sauté for an additional minute until done to your desired doneness.


Remove from pan and melt the remaining butter. When melted, pour over fish cheeks, and squeeze a good bit of lemon over it all.



  • We like to add a clove of garlic, smashed, and a healthy sprig of thyme to the butter in the last step. If you do so, remove the garlic and thyme before pouring over the cheeks.  

  • Try this with Bacon Vinaigrette.

  • The entire preparation can be served over pasta. Just add more butter and/or wine, and sprinkle parsley on top. Or, use the Bacon Vinaigrette recipe above.

  • You can use any scallop preparation, just make sure not to overcook the skate cheeks (3 minutes or so total).

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