The Emperor’s Fan

My husband named this dish at first glance. You wouldn’t think there was anything very imperial about skate, but the fan-shaped wings, glazed with a clear sauce flavoured with orange and lemon juices, fresh ginger and coriander is certainly evocative of the Far East.


  • 1 orange
  • 600 ml (1 pint) fish or chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced roughly
  • 4 skate wings
  • 2 rounded teaspoons arrowroot
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 125 g (4 oz) button mushrooms, sliced
  • A good handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped roughly
  • Salt and cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Orange wedges and extra rind and coriander sprigs to garnish (optional)


Remove a few strips of peel from the orange and squeeze the juice. Pour the stock and orange and lemon juices into a large frying pan which has a lid with the ginger and orange peel. Warm the stock, then add 2 skate wings. Cover, bring the liquid up to barely simmering and poach for 5–6 minutes until the skate is just opaque. Remove the skate and arrange on a shallow serving dish, like overlapping fans. Cover with foil and put into a low oven while you poach the rest.

Then bring the liquid to the boil for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Mix the arrowroot with the water until smooth, then stir into the strained liquid. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then bubble, still stirring, for 3 minutes. Season if necessary with a little salt and cayenne pepper. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute. Stir in the coriander. Pour over the skate wings, garnish if liked and serve.