Sustainable sturgeon from the East Coast

Cornel Ceapa’s love for the sturgeon and desire to save the endangered fish led him to create the family business, Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar.

He, with his wife, Dorina, and son, Michael, live in St. John where Cornel was a professor at the University of New Brunswick.

Since 2005, they have been providing live fertilized eggs, larvae and juveniles for aquaculture, restocking and research. And since 2008, they have been sustainably harvesting wild sturgeon for meat and caviar.

The season is only about a month and a half in the summer with a quota of 350 sturgeon, half males and half females. Fish under 1.65 metres are released after tagging. They also tag and release females with immature eggs and females without eggs, releasing about 30 percent of their catch.

Tagging allows them to gather data on population and growth, with the company working with two universities and the federal department of fisheries and oceans.

Meat is flash frozen while caviar has a shelf life of a year when kept at a temperature around the freezing point.

After repackaging in smaller containers and shipping to the customer, the shelf life is reduced to 30 days due to higher temperatures and exposure to air.

Smoked Sturgeon Pate

Smoked Atlantic sturgeon can be served with creme fraiche or sour cream, gherkins and water biscuits. This pate is another serving option.

  • 1 pkg. hot smoked Atlantic sturgeon
  • 2 c. cream cheese 250 mL
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. piment d’esplette, 2 mL optional

Finely chop the sturgeon and mix together with the remainder of the ingredients, except piment d’esplette, until soft, spreadable and evenly incorporated.
Garnish with piment d’esplette and serve with water biscuits and wedges of lemon.

Buckwheat Blinis

  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. buckwheat flour 125 mL
  • 4 tsp. sugar 20 mL
  • 1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast 7 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. whole milk 250 mL
  • 3 tbsp. butter cut into cubes 45 mL
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • melted butter
  • creme fraiche

Whisk first five ingredients in a bowl.
Place milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and bubbles form around the outside of the pan.
Cool to 110 F (40 C).
Pour warm milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in volume, one to one and a half hours.
Whisk batter to deflate, then whisk in eggs. This can be prepared a day in advance, covered and chilled.
Preheat oven to 200 F (95 C). Heat large skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter and pour two tablespoons (30 mL) batter for each blini onto skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top and begin to burst.

Turn and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to baking sheet, cover with foil and place in oven to keep warm.
Blinis can be made a day ahead. Cool, cover and chill. Brush blinis lightly with melted butter and re-heat on baking sheet in 350 F (175 C) oven for five minutes.
Serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche on top of each. Top generously with caviar.
Source: adapted from Dorie Green-span.

Creme Fraiche

  • 1 c. whipping cream 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk or 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream, with live culture 30 mL

Mix well and put in a jar with a lid. Leave at room temperature for 24–48 hours. Refrigerate until served. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Smoked Sturgeon Chowder

  • 1 1/2 c. cooked sturgeon meat, coarsely flaked 375 mL
  • 1 pkg. smoked sturgeon slices
  • 1 tbsp. camelina oil 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. butter 15 mL
  • 1 c. chopped onion 250 mL
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery 125 mL
  • 6 tbsp. flour 90 mL
  • 6 c. chicken or vegetable stock 1.5 L
  • 2 c. potatoes, peeled and cubed 500 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika 3 mL
  • 1/4 c. white wine 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce 3 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 5 mL
  • 2 c. sour cream 500 mL

In a large pot over medium heat, combine butter, olive oil, onion, garlic and celery. Cook eight to 10 minutes, or until onions are transparent. Sprinkle flour over the mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes to avoid any raw flour taste.
Gradually add stock and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in sturgeon, potatoes, herbs, paprika, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Shred the smoked sturgeon with your fingers and add with the wine, lemon juice and hot sauce. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Mix in sour cream and continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Serve hot. – Source: adapted from Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Inc.

Thai Curry Fish Balls

  • 1 lb. ground sturgeon meat, cooked 500 g
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. chickpea flour 80 mL
  • 2/3 c. onion, finely chopped 160 mL
  • canola oil, for shallow frying
  • 4 oz. can green curry paste 120 mL
  • 14 oz. coconut milk 400 mL
  • carrots, celery, broccoli or cauliflower

Spread the ground meat on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 F (180 C) oven until fully cooked. Cool to room temperature.
Mix first six ingredients until everything is evenly incorporated. Form into two-inch (5 cm) balls. Chill for an hour. Fry in a vegetable oil until browned on all sides. Set aside.
Add curry paste to a large saute pan, then add coconut milk and heat until it bubbles. Add coarsely chopped vegetables. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender. Add fish balls and heat. Serve with jasmine rice.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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