Sturgeon is the common name given to over 25 species of fish from the Acipenseridae family and their existence dates back to over 200-250 million years ago. They are long-lived and very late-maturing fish and this is why their meat is considered a delicacy.
Their long reproductive cycles, as well as the long migrations, make them some of the most sensitive fish in the sea. They are also extremely sensitive to any environmental changes and cannot stand polluted waters or temperatures that are too high or too low. Unfortunately, according to some official statistics, over 85% of the sturgeon species are now classified at risk of extinction.
They used to populate almost all waters in the world and fishermen would use surf fishing combos (here’s a great post to read) to catch them, but nowadays, the only waters you can still find wild sturgeons in Europe are Romania and Bulgaria. Unfortunately, sturgeons have been hunted for a long time due to their delicious meat and eggs. Sturgeon eggs make the famous Beluga caviar which is sold as an exclusivist delicacy for staggering prices.
Nevertheless, sturgeon populations can be grown in captivity as long as their environmental needs are met. This is why you can still find sturgeon meat to purchase at specialized fish markets and gourmet restaurants.
There are plenty of delicious sturgeon recipes you can try but we must insist to purchase only certified sturgeon from certified breeders and sellers. Keep in mind that this is an endangered species and fishing them in most waters is illegal. Thus, make sure your fish comes from certified breeders and not from poaching activities. If your fish comes from certified sources, you may proceed to try some or all of our following recipes.
Smoked sturgeon with garlic bread
Although this may sound like a simple dish, it is one of the most sophisticated as it takes a lot of time to prepare, meaning to actually smoke the sturgeon. If you already own a dry smoker this will be rather easy to use as long as you have the patience to wait.
Keep in mind that dry smokers should be preheated before putting your fish in them but also kept at lower temperatures than other types of meat or veggies. The perfect temperature to smoke sturgeon and other types of fish like trout are between 60 and 75 degrees, no more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The smoking process depends on the heat, as well as the size of the fish itself.
It can take as little as one-two days or even a month, depending on how smoked you want your sturgeon to be and how long you are willing to wait. Keep in mind that a well-smoked sturgeon can be consumed raw while those that only stayed for a few hours or days will require other additional cooking methods in order to be served.
If you have the possibility we encourage you to use natural wood smokers and not those made of metal or hard shells. This will allow the wood’s natural flavors to mix with the sturgeon and provide an even more delicious meat. You can smoke your sturgeon alone or by using other additional ingredients to improve the flavors and the ultimate taste.
There are certain national delicacies you’ll mainly find in Europe that imply smoking the sturgeon in savin fir or pine for 10-14 days. After the sturgeon is fully smoked it is removed from the savin fir and placed on a plate. It is served with a salsa made of tomatoes and minced garlic or with garlic toasted bread.
Marinated sturgeon kebabs
If you’re a fan of the Oriental cuisine you must probably enjoy all the spices and flavors coming from fresh aromatic plants. You may also be a fan of sheep or chicken kebabs. But did you know you can make delicious kebabs out of any type of meat, veggie or fruit, and even fish like sturgeon?
What we liked about sturgeon kebabs and fish kebabs, in general, is that they have fewer calories and are lighter for you, helping you watch your diet or create a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet. So how do you make these mouth-watering kebabs?
Of course, you’ll need skewers, lots of fresh spices and herbs, and some small chunks of sturgeon fish. After getting your sturgeon you cut it into small chunks and put them to marinade for a few hours alongside a mixture of salt, pepper, lime juice, rosemary, thyme, and mint. You can replace the rosemary with ginger for an even more pinchy taste.
After the sturgeon meat is perfectly marinated, put the chunks on skewers alone or combined with your preferred veggies. We suggest zucchinis, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. Put the fish kebabs on the grill and cook them for a few minutes until they become moist and slightly crispy on both sides. Take the kebabs off and let them sit for a few minutes.
You can serve this delicious food alone or with baked potatoes or French fries, depending on your preferences. Baked potatoes should be gold and sprinkled with oregano salt, while French fries should be served as they are. Finish with a salsa of Greek yogurt, mint, and lemon juice or one made of tomatoes and minced garlic.
If you truly want to impress your guests and provide an exquisite culinary treat, you can opt for one of the most expensive ingredients in the world, the Beluga caviar. This is mainly found in the Black Sea waters, in the same countries, Romania and Bulgaria. However, not even if you’re local, Beluga caviar won’t come cheap. But, if your pocket allows the extravaganza, here is a quick way to serve delicious appetizers.
Try giving your old Mediterranean bruschettas a little twist by adding caviar on the side. For tasty bruschettas, you’ll need some French bread, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, some fresh leaves of basil and mint, and, of course, the desired Beluga caviar.
Toast the bread for a few minutes and oil the bread with olive oil. Add the thin-sliced tomatoes and the minced garlic garnished with salt and pepper according to your preferences. Add some Beluga caviar on top and decorate with a basil leaf. For extra flavor, you can also add a few drops of balsamic vinegar on top.
Another idea to use caviar on your bruschettas is to combine them with fresh butter or cream cheese, just like you would make a sandwich. A very expensive sandwich.
Regular sturgeon salad
If you’re looking for a low-calorie dish which is also exquisite and tastes extraordinary, all you have to do is pair sturgeon with the right combination of veggies and you’ll get a divine salat without any efforts.
Our suggestion is to grill, bake or poach the sturgeon according to your preferences and serve it with a mix of celery, apple, nuts, and lettuce. Other great combinations would be with radish, lettuce, and onion or with spring onions, lettuce, spinach, and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with a carefree vinaigrette made of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano or rosemary.
Vinegar-poached sturgeon with delicious sauce
Last but not least, if you’re into more traditional cooking, you cannot skip this delicious sturgeon recipe with melted butter. It will take you around two hours to prepare, cut, cook, and serve the ingredients, so we suggest you should display this recipe at formal dinners or family celebrations.
What we liked about this recipe is that, although it seems complicated, it counts for very common ingredients and will deliver a touch of aristocracy and lavishness without costing a fortune or using far-away ingredients. So, without further ado, here is what you’ll require: four sliced medium zucchinis, two tablespoons of softened butter, one teaspoon of chopped thyme, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, sturgeon fillets, three tablespoons of red wine vinegar, one sliced medium shallot or red onion, drained capers, and decoration leaves.
The first step is to preheat your oven and sprinkle your zucchinis with salt and pepper, according to your own taste. Put them evenly in a cooking pot and let them stand for about one hour. Then, you’ll have to blend the butter along with the thyme, salt, and pepper, until obtaining a homogenous paste.
Place your zucchinis on a baking sheet and add about two tablespoons of olive oil or a larger quantity if you added more than four zucchinis. Cook the zucchinis for approximately half an hour until they turn gold. Place them on a platter.
Sprinkle the sturgeon with vinegar and put it in the fridge for around ten minutes, then combine the remaining vinegar with water and boil the mixture. Season with fresh salt and pepper and gently add the sturgeon fillets. Cook them on low heat for about eight-ten minutes, then remove them from the liquid onto a plate.
In another cooking pan, add the remaining olive oil and cook the sturgeon fillets until golden brown on both sides, and then place the fillets on top of the cooked zucchinis. Combine with the remaining sauce, add the capers, the thyme butter, and the shallot and season again with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over your plate and serve while warm.