Other Names: White sturgeon, Sacramento sturgeon, Green sturgeon
Identification & Biology: These enormous marine fish can range from 60 lbs. to several tons; the farm-raised variety usually weighs from 15 to 20 lbs. Sturgeon are long, thin, impenetrable-looking fish with cartilage-plated backs and thick-scaled sides. Most species are pale gray; the green sturgeon has an olive back and silvery sides and belly.
Market Description: The dense white flesh of the sturgeon is firm-textured and meaty with a high fat content and mild flavor. The skin is tough and not edible.
Habitat: California to British Columbia
Flavor Profile: Distinct earthy flavor, meaty with firm flesh
Fishing Technique: hook&line, gill net
Special Note: Some sturgeon are farmed
Suitable Sub: Cobia, Corvina
Sold as: Steaks, fillets, chunks, whole (less common); smoked Buying tips: Most fresh sturgeon is farm-raised and of good quality, and therefore rather expensive. Expect to pay about $8 per pound for steaks and fillets. Look for white flesh that glistens and is free of gaping, browning, and signs of drying. Its smell should be sweet and fresh (a faint whiff of mud is not a bad sign).
Recommended Preparation: White sturgeon, especially the smallest specimens, are considered best for eating. Steaks can be braised, grilled, broiled, or baked. The veal like meat can also be cut into scallops and sautéed or stir-fried.
Substitutes: Swordfish, tuna
Notes: Sturgeon meat is fatty and rich--just the right consistency for smoking. The sturgeon is anadromous: During spawning season, it migrates to fresh waters. Sturgeon roe is "true caviar," and prized as a delicacy.