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Chef Walter’s Flavors & Knowledge: Sturgeon and Shrimp Roll

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

 

Serves 6

This elegant main entrée uses sturgeon as a base but a typical Atlantic cod may be used as a substitute if not available. Adjust slightly the cooking temperature. New potatoes may also be replaced with your favorite local tuber, keeping in mind the size for proper cooking time.

Ingredients

10 ounces shrimp 16/20 count

4 ounces white sandwich bread, crusts removed and soaked in ¼ cup milk

12 ounces spinach, blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water and squeezed dry

1 egg, whole

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-1/2 pounds sturgeon fillet, skinless

1 pound new potatoes, peeled and boiled for 4 minutes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 scallions roughly chopped

1 stalk celery, roughly chopped

¼ cup Cognac

2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped

2 sprigs marjoram, chopped

1 sprig parsley, chopped

2 cups vegetable stock

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup chives, chopped

 

Directions

Clean the shrimp: Peel the shells from the tail. Reserve the shells. Cut the shrimp into ½-inch pieces. Preheat oven to 350F. Drain and squeeze the bread, and place it in a food processor along with the blanched spinach and egg. Blend until a smooth filling forms.

Place the spinach puree in a large bowl. Fold in the shrimp pieces, and adjust the flavors with salt and pepper. Slice the sturgeon fillet horizontally into 4 or 5 uniform slices. Lay the slices on parchment paper that has been moistened with water. Overlap the slices then pound to a ¼-inch thickness. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper. Spread the spinach filling over the fish, and roll up in the paper. Tie with butcher’s string, and place on a baking sheet. 

Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, place on the same baking sheet as the sturgeon, and bake for 40 minutes. 

In a pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and add the scallions, celery and shrimp shells. Off the heat add the Cognac, and carefully ignite it with a match. Put the pot back over the heat, and cook out the alcohol (the flames will subside). Add the herbs and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce reduces by half, about 25 minutes. Strain and discard the solids. Add the cream to the sauce. Remove the sturgeon from the oven, and unwrap and slice it. Spoon the sauce onto plates. Divide the sturgeon slices and potatoes evenly onto each plate. Sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Facts on sturgeon

A sturgeon is a fish in the family Acipenseridae, which contains over 20 known species. Humans are most familiar with the fish because it is a famous source of caviar, unfertilized roe collected from female fish.

The physical appearance of a sturgeon is somewhat primordial. The fish are long, with several rows of bony plates along their bodies, along with an elongated snout which has protruding barbels. The fish are bottom feeders, using their wedge-like snouts to churn up the bottom of waterways for food. Most eat mollusks, worms, and larvae. They are classified as ganoid fishes, in a reference to the bony plates which line their bodies.

The Northern hemisphere exclusively supports sturgeon, and they prefer temperate, rather than tropical waters. Some are anadromous, which means that they travel between salt and fresh water. Others live solely in fresh water, usually within landlocked bodies of water, and some species spend their lives at sea. The largest species is the Russian sturgeon, which can reach a length of 13 feet (almost 4 meters). Fish of approximately half that size are much more abundant. Humans have been eating sturgeon and their products for centuries. The caviar is the most prized product of this fish, but the flesh is eaten as well. Sturgeon meat is rich, high in fat, and very dense with a mild flavor. When obtainable, it is eaten fresh in many parts of Europe. In Russia, where large numbers of the fish are harvested for their roe, the meat is dried or smoked before being sold. Humans also use the swim bladder of the fish to extract isinglass, a type of gelatin used to clarify foods such as beer.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well."  Check out the Chef's website and blog.

 

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