There are several species of ray, with thorny skate and thornback ray most commonly seen at the fish counter. They are similar but the thorny skate has more, more powerful, thorns.
Cartilaginous fish – sharks and rays – have physiological characteritics that means that many species simply do not taste good, but skate wings are a delicacy in many countries.
Rays do not have a dorsal fin, have a long thin tails with spines and lay live young, e.g. the stingray. Skate have a hint of a dorsal fin, a more spindle-like body and lay eggs.
How to cook skate and rays
Only the “wings” are eaten, and on larger fish sometimes part of the tail.
The wings can be fried and cooked like other flat fish.
Fried skate wings with melted butter and capers.