Life à la Laura
King Of The River
You’d never believe that in a gentle river that flows through a pastoral scene like this, there’d be living one of the most ancient and mighty fish on earth. They may start off itsy bitsy…
…but local sturgeon can grow to as big as 14 feet long.
My new friends, Cornel Ceapa and his wife Dorina, moved to New Brunswick from Romania in 2003, and not long ago began a sustainable acquaculture business out of a small riverside warehouse.
Here I am inside getting a tour from Cornel…
And here’s the view outside his office (that lucky duck!).
Cornel and Dorina are passionate promoters, not just of precious caviar, but also of sturgeon meat. Theirs is a nose to tail operation and nothing is wasted. (They even started having jewelry made out of the bones!)
Recently, Cornel, Dorina and I got together to cook a feast so that I could get a taste of just how varied the uses of sturgeon can be. Here are some of the delicious things we tried:
Caviar on buckwheat blinis is, of course, the great classic. What makes blinis a perfect partner is that they don’t overwhelm the taste of cavier, which is not the case when you pile it on things like baby potatoes or boiled eggs (we know, we tried). My favourite way to eat caviar, however, is Cornel style: spoon a mound onto the back of your hand in the same spot you’d put salt for downing a tequila. Then, after an indulgent sip of Champagne vodka, or sake, slurp the caviar off your hand. Yum!
This is a simple salad of butter lettuce in a light lemon dressing adorned with thin matchsticks of smoked sturgeon. The texture of smoked sturgeon is very firm and the taste is more meaty than fishy. It works much better than bacon here, I find, because of the mild flavour and gentle smokiness in one.
Atlantic sturgeon meat makes a delicious seviche.
Pork boulettes with dill is a traditional Romanian recipe. Cornel does a sturgeon version using the red meat which is found under the fish skin. Again, because the taste is not fishy, this is a great recipe for people who don’t eat meat and are looking for a change. This meat is also good for burgers.
Those are just a few good ideas I got from Cornel and Dorina. They have more on their web site (www.acadian-sturgeon.com), with recipes. And you can order products there, too. Yay!