This dish really doesn’t have to be difficult. The potatoes and fennel are quick and easy to prepare, and if the artichokes sound like too much hard work (but it’s worth a try), there are good-quality tinned artichoke bottoms available. Mixed bags of salad leaves are also available in supermarkets.

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Ingredients

  • 225 g (8 oz) new potatoes, boiled
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) Basic Vinaigrette
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 quantity Braised Artichoke Bottoms
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 700 g ( lb) skate wing fillets
  • Plain flour for coating
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • A handful of green salad leaves (rocket, curly endive, lamb’s lettuce etc.)

For the Dressing

  • 1 egg
  • 25 g (1 oz) capers, drained
  • 6 tinned anchovy fillets, drained
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 X 2.5 cm (1 in) piece fresh ginger root, peeled
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) warm water
  • 225 ml ( fl oz) olive oil
  • 225 ml ( fl oz) ground-nut oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

To make the dressing, place all the ingredients except the oils into a food processor and blitz to a paste. With the motor running, slowly add the oil, as you would for mayonnaise. Push the dressing through a fine sieve then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the new potatoes while still warm and mix with the chopped onion. Add about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to moisten.

To cook the fennel, plunge it into boiling, salted water with the lemon juice and simmer for about 20 minutes until tender. Allow to cool in the liquor. When cool, halve the fennel and slice into long strips.

Warm the potatoes, fennel and artichokes together in half the butter.

Cut the skate into fingers, allowing five pieces per portion. Lightly flour the skate and fry in the remaining butter and the olive oil for a few minutes on each side.

Mix the dressing with the potatoes, fennel and artichokes and spoon on to the centre of the plates. Sit the skate fingers on top and finish with some salad leaves tossed in the remaining vinaigrette. Any left-over dressing can be kept in the fridge and used for simple mixed salads.

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