Sturgeon with Apple, Mustard Seeds & Horseradish

Pajo Bruich, Enotria Restaurant & Wine Bar, Sacramento, California / May 2013

For 16 servings (requires advance preparation)

Cold smoked sturgeon:

  • 1 1/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. TCM1 curing salt
  • 6 Tbsps. granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsps. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup mustard seeds, ground
  • 3 Tbsps. dried lavender
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp. white pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 grapefruits, zested
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 2 mandarin oranges, zested
  • 2 limes, zested
  • 1  36-oz. sturgeon fillet, skin-on
  1. Mix salts, sugars, mustard seeds, lavender, coriander seeds, and pepper in a bowl; add garlic and zests; mix well.

  2. Scatter thin layer of cure along bottom of airtight plastic container just large enough to hold sturgeon; place sturgeon on top; top fish with remaining cure; cover; reserve in refrigerator 3 days.

  3. Rinse fish under cold running water; pat dry; place on baking sheet skin-side down; top with another baking sheet; fill top baking sheet with ice; cold smoke 90 minutes, changing ice as needed to keep fish cold; remove from smoker; envelop fish in plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

Sabayon:

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup fennel, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch tarragon
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 8 Tbsps. unsalted butter
  • kosher salt
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan set over medium-low heat; add fennel, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened; stir in herbs, wine, cream, Worcestershire sauce, fennel seeds, peppercorns, 1 cup smoked sturgeon, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil; cover with a lid; remove from heat; let stand 1 hour.

  2. Bring sturgeon mixture to a boil; reduce by 50 percent; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into clean saucepan; discard solids.

  3. Reduce liquid to 1/2 cup; remove from heat; reserve.

  4. Lightly whisk egg and egg yolk in a bowl; bring butter to a boil in small saucepan; bring sturgeon reduction to a simmer; gradually whisk sturgeon reduction into eggs; gradually whisk in butter until emulsified; season with salt; place in a whipper canister; charge with 2 NO2 cartridges; reserve (keep warm).

Pickled mustard seeds:

  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns, tied up in a sachet
  • 1 bay leaf

Place mustard seeds in a container; bring sugar, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaf, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar; pour over mustard seeds; cool; remove bay leaf; cover; reserve at least 1 day.

Pickled apples:

  • 1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/4” dice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsps. plus 2 tsps. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. Champagne vinegar
  1. Place apples, juice, and 1/2 cup water in nonreactive bowl; reserve.

  2. Bring sugar, vinegars, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar; remove from heat; place in a bowl set in ice water bath; cool; place in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; drain apples; add to bag; vacuum seal; reserve (must use same day).

Assembly:

  • lime juice
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 7 oz. sturgeon
  • 4 1/4 tsps. squid ink
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • canola oil (for frying)
  • freshly shaved radish (for garnishing)
  • micro mustard greens (for garnishing)
  • American sturgeon caviar (for garnishing)
  1. Cut remaining smoked sturgeon into 1/4” dice; place in large bowl; drain pickled mustard seeds and pickled apples; add to sturgeon; season with lime juice and olive oil; toss until well coated; season with salt; reserve.

  2. Pulse fresh sturgeon, squid ink, and flour in a processor until a dough forms; place in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; roll out dough in bag with rolling pin until thin; vacuum-seal; reserve.

  3. Set a perforated hotel pan inside a hotel pan set over low heat (place over 2 burners); fill pan with water to reach just below perforated pan; cover with a lid; heat until water is at a low simmer (to create steam); remove lid; place bag inside perforated pan; cover; steam 15 minutes; flip bag; steam 15 minutes; remove bag from perforated pan; remove steamed dough from bag; cut out rounds with 1” cookie cutter; place on dehydrator trays; dehydrate 2 hours.

  4. Heat canola oil in deep fryer to 400°F.

  5. Fry dough rounds until brown and crispy (20 to 30 seconds); place on paper towels with a spider to drain; season; reserve (keep warm).

  6. To serve, place small amount of warm sabayon in each serving bowl; top with small amount sturgeon tartare mix; garnish with broken sturgeon chips, radish, mustard greens, and caviar.

What to drink: F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Trocken Wachau Loibner Berg 2009 or H. Dönnhoff Riesling Estate Nahe 2011
Chef’s Note: At the restaurant, we cold smoke in turned off ovens: Fill a third baking sheet with very hot mesquite and top it with applewood and hickory wood chips and place on a rack underneath the fish.