Raie au Fromage

SKATE IN CHEESE SAUCE

Rate au Fromage (ray oh froh-mahj) is a dish which transforms the humble skate into a delightful lunch or supper dish.

Serve with petits pois, grilled tomatoes and sauteed potatoes.

4 SERVINGS

15 fl. oz. creamy milk

1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely chopped

1 shallot, chopped bouquet garni, consisting of

4 parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

6 black peppercorns

1 mace blade

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 lb. skate wings, skinned and cut into strips lh oz. butter

1 oz. flour

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

6 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated

1 lb. leeks, white part only, sliced

In a small saucepan, place the milk, celery, shallot, bouquet garni, pepper-corns, mace and nutmeg. Set the pan over moderately low heat. Simmer the milk for 15 minutes, but do not allow it to boil.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Meanwhile, place the strips of skate in a shallow ovenproof dish.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the milk mixture over the skate strips and place the dish in the oven. Cook the fish for 30 minutes or until the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remove the dish from the oven and, using a fish slice, transfer the fish to a warmed, flameproof serving dish and keep hot.

Pour the cooking liquid through a fine wire strainer set over a medium-sized bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, rub the vegetables through the strainer, extracting any juices. Discard the contents of the strainer. Set the strained liquid aside’.

Melt 1 ounce of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Pour the reserved cooking liquid into the pan, a little at a time, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon. Stir in the salt and pepper. Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook the sauce, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half the grated cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted. Set aside.

Preheat the grill to high.

In a small frying-pan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides add the leeks and cook them, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the leeks to the flameproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the leeks. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sauce and place the dish under the grill . Grill for 2 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned.

Remove the dish from under the heat and serve immediately.

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