Noodles Ray Casserole, a dish for lovers of delicacy;
The Ray, also known as Skate Fish, is a fish somewhat special for its form and should not be confused with the Manta Ray when they are adults fish, they are not the same as the large of ray can measure up to two meters while the manta ray up to nine. It is a tremendously ugly fish, and is ideal for those who do not like fish … NOT have fishbone, the reason why many people do not really like fish, what ray has are cartilage, a kind of bones that are easily removed from the meat once cooked and leave this totally clean to eat it without any problems. Belonging to the family of Rayiformes is an order of Superorder of Cartilaginous fish Batoidea and is closely related to sharks by sharing with them the general structure of the skeleton, the number and type of fins and the morphology of the gill slits, but are clearly distinct between them.
The ray is a fish which is very easy to distinguish whether or not fresh because when it doesn´t has adequate freshness you will immediately realize an strong smell because as long as days pass over the ray disarms very fast its proteins and generate rather unpleasant odors. Be very careful with the freshness of ray because the decomposition of its proteins generates ammonia, which is very dangerous for human health.
There are many ways to cook ray in Mallorca, one I like more is the pickled ray, but also fried or baked is a delicacy. The ray was the most fish I ate when I was small, not for its delicacy, but because i had to eat fish and having no fishbone was the only fish I did accept and did like to me, as thousands of children in Mallorca. The recipe for this fish is a very typical dish Mallorca, Noodle Ray Casserole, called in our language “Fideus de Ratjada”, a very easy dish to cook and surely you will love it if you have the chance to try.
Preparation time: 2 hours
Ingredients (4 people): mild fish broth, ½ onion, 2 “tomatoes ramallet”, 350 thick noodles, 2 cloves of garlic, parsley, a little saffron, 1 kg of ray, clams, 200 g peeled shrimp, olive oil, salt and pepper.
The first thing to prepare in the fish broth, which I very often do with Caramel fish and remaining bones of the ray we’ve bought, but never used only the bones and scraps left over from the ray because only with them the broth is a bit tasteless.
Once prepared the broth and put the fire to go by, we will clean the ray with water and season with salt and pepper. Chop the onion very small and grate de 2 “ramallet tomatoes” finite tomatoes to make a good stir-fry.
Prepare a mince in a mortar with two cloves of garlic, parsley and reserve until we are going to need before finish cooking the ray noodles.
Put a clay pot on fire with olive oil and fry the pieces of ray until get sealed and get slightly golden color withdrawing and reserving them for later use.
In the same clay pot with the same oil put the chopped onion, fry and add the grated tomato letting it go cooking well until is going to be like a jam and once we see that the sauce is ready, add the noodles, stirring them together with the sauce to soak the flavor and add saffron. Once the noodles have we taken the color of saffron, add the broth that has to be really hot and the pieces of ray, stirring carefully so the fish does not break when cooking.
When we left about 5 minutes the noodles add the minced garlic and parsley, clams and shrimp. To find the cooking time of the noodles read the package instructions, always better when we take them out from fire one minute before they done and thus come to the table without being passed. Serve immediately, soupy noodles do not need to rest.
The ray is better when is cut by the fishmonger, it is a bit complicated if you have not ever done, especially at the time of removing the skin which is strongly attached. However, in Mallorca there are many supermarkets and fishmongers selling well already chopped and ready to use ray.
Do not forget to ask the fishmonger giving to you the central bones and remains from the ray to make the broth, which usually tend to do.
Broth is better when we add some little soft fish to give better flavor, otherwise only the remains of the ray would be too tasteless.
Ideally go degreasing broth with the help of a small ladle to tease out all the fat that is generating the ray and fish.
If you have no clams or shrimp you can forget, also if you have you can use mussels, actually noodles ray casserole as were traditionally only carried the fish itself and nothing else. This is a point up to the person who is cooking and preparing the dish.
You can use the type of noodle that you like but is much better if is a bit thick because if they are thin noodles cook also very fast and then pass quickly, it seems more a noodle soup.
Being a delicacy and in which you can put all the quantity of ray you want, when cooking it just do this dish and eat two or three plates, enjoy some authentic Ray Noodles Casserole… and, as always, accompanied by a good wine.
You can enjoy more recipes from Mallorca here.