A Fork on the Road

Florida-raised sturgeon on the menu at Miami market, North Miami bistro

 

Main Dish

Baked Sturgeon with Sour Cream

Another firm, white-fleshed fish such as carp, sole or swordfish can be used in this recipe adapted from “The Russian Heritage Cookbook” by Lynn Visson (Overlook, 2009). Serve with boiled potatoes.

4 (6-ounce) sturgeon fillets

6 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish. Place fillets in dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon butter on each one. Bake 15 minutes. Melt remaining butter. Remove dish from oven and spread sour cream over the fish. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with dill. Return to oven and bake 6 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 374 calories (69 percent from fat), 28.5 g fat (15.2 g saturated, 8.9 g monounsaturated), 158 mg cholesterol, 28 g protein, 0.7 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 263 mg sodium.


F.Y.I.

Sturgeon are available for $11-$15 a pound (averaging 1.1 to 2.4 lbs.) at Marky’s, 687 79th St., Miami; 305-758-9288, markys.com. Sturgeon specials are $38-$44 at Petite Rouge, 12409 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami; 6-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 305-892-7676.


lbb75@bellsouth.net

Mark Zaslavsky and Mark Gelman have waited nine years to harvest sturgeon raised in the spring waters of Zephyrhills just north of Tallahassee. The project was launched to produce caviar and help repopulate the endangered fish. Whole, cleaned Sevruga (firm and lean) and Sterlet (soft and slightly sweet) sturgeon are now available frozen in the Russian market at Marky’s (call a day ahead to have them thawed). Petit Rouge French Bistro in North Miami also features sturgeon specials.

Sturgeon are living fossils resembling small, bony-plated sharks that date back 120 million years. The fish is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, has a delicate, meaty taste and is as tender as veal if refrigerated a few days before cooking.

To prepare the fish, cut off the fins and top plates (called scutes) with a sharp knife. Chop off the head and cut away the skin and dark part (fascia) under it and fillet, removing any the reddish fat lines. The meat can be smoked, boiled, barbecued, sautéed or lightly breaded and deep-fried. Add to chowders and soups, tuck into tacos or serve strips chilled with cocktail sauce. Poached sturgeon is delicious in sour cherry sauce with capers.

Petite Rouge chef-owner Neal Cooper learned about the briny beast through frequent customer Zaslavsky, and serves weekend sturgeon specials. Dishes include butter-poached pearl couscous with squid ink (it resembles Beluga caviar) served over sturgeon and lobster chunks. Fillets are wrapped in puff pastry with spinach in mustard dill sauce or potato-crusted and pooled in truffle-cabernet glace. Whole Sterlet are roasted with cherry tomatoes and served with basil beurre blanc.

The fish may be ancient, but it is a welcome newcomer to Miami.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.

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