11 Sep Pan-Roasted Sturgeon with Black Caviar Lentil
The dining experience most of the time is very pleasant. Fine dining is even more enjoyable. But what if getting an elegant restaurant-quality dish could be as easily obtainable as cooking your first sunny-side-up? Yes, we’ve all been there: first culinary attempts are often a mess. But I assure you, with this Pan-Roasted Sturgeon with Black Caviar Lentil recipe you’ll learn how to master a royal-class dish in a blink of an eye and a splash of a fishtail.
First, meet the sturgeon, the fish that is rightly featured in the hall of fame of the world’s most delicious seafood. Sturgeon is a Russian noble fish that has seen the rise and fall of Eastern Europe’s numerous tsars and princes. Grilled and baked sturgeon was a staple delicacy served at feasts in courts and monasteries, while the indigenous people of Arctic Siberia preferred the fish eaten frozen and raw. Even now, thinly sliced frozen fish aka “stroganina” is incredibly popular in the Far East of Russia.
But we will not exercise those extreme food traditions and instead will apply the most straightforward and safe technique – pan-frying. Just a few minutes of the right heat and skilled flipping tactics will bring the King Fish in the net of your gourmet ambitions. Perfectly cooked sturgeon has a texture that more resembles a steak, juicy, and teeming with aromas. Dressed in the minimalist elegance of thyme, salt, and pepper, it will outshine the wildest seafood fantasies you might spare.
But like every royalty, it needs a stunning entourage to make an appearance. And here comes an edgy twist no tsar could imagine – the new-era black caviar that is, in fact, no caviar at all. You are probably familiar with those beautiful beads of Beluga lentils looking exactly like fancy black caviar. The luxury and status are in the DNA of its aesthetics, so the only thing we need is to treat it properly. Beautiful black pearls, infused with aromatic herbs and veggies, accompanied by rich and smoky bacon is my favorite flavor combination.
Beluga lentils are full of protein and antioxidants from the black pigment; this type of lentils is straightforward to cook and extremely hard to ruin. It can fire up the thirst for experiments, too. Beware: you might end up using these amazingly flavorful babies in every meal you cook. But it’s okay. We are here to have fun in the kitchen.
Pan-Roasted Sturgeon with Black Caviar Lentil
For the Black Caviar Lentil:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 oz bacon finely sliced
- 1 small shallot finely diced
- 1 celery stalk finely diced
- 1/2 cup black caviar lentil rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
For the Fish:
- 2 5 to 6- ounce sturgeon fillets 1 inch thick
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- black pepper
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Add the bacon and cook for about 4 minutes until golden. Lower the heat to medium and add shallot and celery. Cook and stir until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent, for approximately 6 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in lentils until well coated. Add thyme sprigs and stock, bring to a gentle simmer—season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the lentil is soft. Stir in the vinegar and remove from the heat and keep warm until serving.
- Pat fillets dry with a paper towel. Season on both sides with salt.
- Heat a heavy 10-inch stainless steel or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil. Place the fillets in the pan, dark side down.
- Lower heat to medium and let sizzle until fish is golden and caramelized around edges, about 5 minutes. Gently flip fillets and add butter and thyme to the pan. Tilt the pan slightly to let the melted butter pool at one end. Use a metal spoon to baste the fish with the pooled butter. Continue basting until the fish is cooked through, about 2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets.
- Serve immediately over caviar lentils. Top with finishing salt, and black pepper.