Market Name: Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Acipenser transmontanus
Common Name: White sturgeon, Oregon sturgeon, Sacramento sturgeon
Flavor: Mild
Texture: Firm

The prehistoric sturgeon was once abundant in the United States, consumed on both coasts and exported to Europe, where the roe was processed as caviar. By the end of the 19th century, stocks had collapsed, and today, wild fish are almost impossible to obtain. Of the seven North American species of sturgeon, only two — white and green (Acipenser med-irostris) — are still harvested on the West Coast on a very limited scale. Most sturgeon now on the market is white sturgeon, farm-raised in California. Said to resemble the famed beluga, white sturgeon is prized for its superior flavor. Though wild fish lived for 100 years and reached weights of 2,000 pounds, market size of a full-grown farmed sturgeon is 18 to 22 pounds. The fish are cartilagenous, with no internal skeleton. Instead of scales, they have rows of sharp, bony shields or plates, called “buttons,” along their bodies.

Product Profile:
As farmed sturgeon are raised in controlled environments, quality should be consistently good. Wild sturgeon can vary in flavor, depending on their diet and whether they are caught in brackish or fresh water. Farmed white sturgeon has a mild, delicate flavor, less pronounced than that of green sturgeon. The lean flesh is firm and meaty, similar in texture to chicken breast or veal. Raw sturgeon is pale pink and cooks up white. The tough skin is inedible.

You Should Know:
Beware of green sturgeon being passed off for the more expensive white. Green sturgeon have orange to reddish meat and slimmer, greenish bodies; white sturgeon are light gray in color.

Cooking Tips:
Sturgeon is a good fish for meat or chicken eaters because of its solid tex-ture. Use it in recipes calling for veal. It also marinates well. A simple recipe from one sturgeon farmer calls for sautéing sturgeon fillets after seasoning with salt, pepper, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and rolling in flour. Sauté in hot butter only 2 to 3 minutes per side. Overcooking will toughen sturgeon.

Cooking Methods: Broil,Grill,Poach,Saute',Smoke

Substitutions: Tuna, Swordfish, Shark

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: Bullets (H&G, tail and fins removed), Fillets
Frozen: Bullets, Fillets, Steaks
Value-Added: Smoked, Caviar

Global Supply: