What I had for dinner:
When I was a child, skate was the only fish that I really liked. Today, it is still one of my favorites. I typically prepare it in black butter sauce, but this time I added some shiitake mushrooms. They were too fresh to pass up.
The first thing to do is to get 2 cups of water to boil; meanwhile wash thoroughly 1 cup of Basmati rice until the water runs clear. Add the rice with 1/2 tsp of loose whole saffron and 1 clove of garlic (sliced thin). Cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, poach the skinned skate (about 1/2 -2/3 lb) in plain water until well done, 10 to 12 min depending on the thickness.
For the sauce, cook 1 tbsp of butter until deep brown, at which point all the sugars have caramelized. Add two handfuls of shiitake caps cut in large pieces and cook until all the water has been reduced. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of wine or cider vinegar, 2 tbsp of capers (in vinegar), bring to a boil, and serve.
(Makes 2-3 servings)
(Spanish style capers, e.g. from Goya, are preserved in brine. I drain and rinse them briefly under running water before repacking them with half white vinegar half water. They are ready after a few days in the fridge, and make a wonderful low calorie snack as well.)