Smoked Sturgeon with American Paddlefish Caviar Sauce ▶
For 20 years Ambria has been a renowned fine-dining destination. This entree characterizes Chef Sotelino’s elegant but vibrantly flavored food: smoky sturgeon and zesty horseradish mashed potatoes. The chef cold smokes the sturgeon in a cold smoker box — where temperatures range between 80 to 115 F — before sauteing it. If you don’t have a cold smoker box, you may skip this step. Placing soaked wood chips in a barbecue grill will provide a smoked flavor but the temperature, even using the indirect method of grilling, is too hot and the fish will be cooked. The thin slice of deep-fried lotus root comes from a water lily extensively used in Asian cookery. It can be found fresh in Asian markets. And the lattice-cut in the sweet potato slice is accomplished on a mandoline, a professional hand-operated slicer that allows for precision cutting. (There are also inexpensive mandoline-type slicers made in Japan that do just as good a job in the home kitchen.) You may also simply peel the sweet potatoes, slice them lengthwise in paper thin slices and deep fry them.
- Skinless American Sturgeon fillets - 4 pieces, 4 ounces each
- Salt - 2 teaspoons
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon, finely ground
- Olive oil - as needed, for sauteeing
- Horseradish Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)
- Sweet Potato - 1 large, thinly sliced lengthwise
- Lotus Root - 8 thin slices of fresh, peeled
- Peanut oil - as needed, for deep frying
- Beurre Blanc Paddlefish Caviar Sauce (recipe follows)
- Chive Oil (recipe follows)
- Chervil sprigs - garnish
- Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
- Idaho Potatoes - 2 medium
- Half & Half - 1 cup
- Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Horseradish - 1 tablespoon, freshly grated (alt.prepared fresh horseradish)
- Salt, freshly ground pepper, freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Beurre Blanc Paddlefish Caviar Sauce
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 pound, 2 sticks, divided
- Shallot - 1 teaspoon, chopped
- Dry White Wine - 1/2 cup
- Heavy Cream - 1/2 cup
- Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon, fresh
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Paddlefish Caviar - 2 tablespoons
- Chive Oil
- Chives - 1 cup, chopped fresh
- Olive Oil - 2 cups
- Vitamin C Tablet - 1/2 of a 200 mg
Season sturgeon fillets lightly with salt, sugar and pepper. Lightly smoke for 15 minutes, or omit this step.
Heat oil over high heat in a saute pan, and sear sturgeon fillets quickly on all four sides. Place skilled in a 500 F oven until fillets are just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry vegetable slices in deep oil preheated to 375 F (any hotter will burn vegetables), until crisp. Lay chips on paper toweling and set aside.
To serve: Place 1/4 of the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes each in the center of 4 warm dinner plates. Lay one sturgeon fillet across the potatoes. Spoon American Paddlefish Caviar Sauce lightly all around. Dot chive oil around sauce. Prop two deep-fried sweet potato slices against one another to form a triangle over fish. Stand two deep-fried lotus chips upright in mashed potatoes, one at each end. Garnish with a chervil sprig and serve.
Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Cook potatoes in salted water to cover until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and when potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove all skin. Mash potatoes with potato masher and mix with half & half, butter, horseradish, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cover and keep warm. Just before serving, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat, stirring, over medium heat.
Beurre Blanc Paddlefish Caviar Sauce
Paddlefish caviar comes from a farm-raised American sturgeon and is sometimes called U.S. or American caviar. The eggs are black and small and flavorful. Because of its delicacy, the sturgeon is stirred into the sauce just before serving.
In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of the butter and saute the shallots until translucent but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce by 1/4. Add the cream and bring to a boil, then slowly whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Keep warm. Just before serving, gently stir in the caviar with a rubber spatula.
To prevent the chive oil from loosing its bright green color and as a natural preservative, Chef Sotelino adds ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. An unusual use for vitamins!
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and the vitamin C tablet has been dissolved. Store unused oil covered, refrigerated.