[Sca-cooks] Skate/ray scallops

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sun Oct 5 10:49:23 PDT 2008

On Oct 5, 2008, at 12:53 PM, Arianwen ferch Arthur wrote:

> and I remember reading a book where kids fished and
> cut scallops out or rays & sold them to a restaurant
> which served them as scallops...

I'm sure there are people who have had this experience, but I'm  
equally sure that there are about as many people who have documentably  
had the experience as have documentably been served cats in Chinese  
restaurants, as opposed to people who know somebody's neighbor's  
brother-in-law who claims to have a friend who claimed to have had the  
experience. In short, I'm sure this has occurred, but not nearly as  
often as the proliferation of stories might suggest. It's just too  
easy to put a small serving of skate or ray, cooked, on a plate  
alongside an actual scallop and see, taste, and feel the difference.  
Of course, if you've gone for your entire life being served skate and  
were told it's scallops, that might be different ;-).

> shark and ray/skate were sold as flake

I don't believe I've ever heard of flake. I guess it's flaky, huh?

> & hake (don't
> remember which was which)

Hake are closely related to the Atlantic-based Northern Whiting and  
what is commonly known around these parts as "ling", the latter being  
a [usually small] codlike fish you can catch locally but never makes  
it into the local seafood markets under that name. Most of the hake  
around here magically becomes known as "scrod" when reduced to a  
skinless fillet on the fishmonger's bed of ice. I remember a  
particularly unpleasant (relative to other structurally similar  
experiences, anyway) fishing trip, planned as generic "bottom fishing"  
off Long Island's Great South Bay, turning up nothing but ling, which  
seemed to have no interest in anything but swallowing baited hooks and  
then committing suicide, yielding up their slightly-greenish-tinged  
and rather tasteless flesh without a word of complaint... it was like  
going out hunting and finding cryovac-wrapped venison steaks, slightly  
past their sell-by date, lying on the ground. Not much fun, even for  
those who enjoy that sort of thing.

But as for the possibility of switching skates and rays for codlike  
fishes, I could see this. Whiting in particular has a tender-but- 
fibrous quality not too different from skate, anyway. In fact, whiting  
is often regarded as an essential ingredient in bouillabaisse,  
specifically because of its tendency to disintegrate into thin shreds  
which thicken the soup.

> when I was teaching in
> Australia, my students went "yuck" or equivalent at
> the idea of shark or ray but loved to cook and eat the
> flake/hake.  Good thing they didn't read their text
> books which told them what they were eating :-)

Welcome to McDonald's, may I take your oder?


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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