White sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America and can weigh over 1,500 pounds, reach 20 feet in length and live for more than 100 years. Instead of scales, sturgeon are protected by a heavy sandpaper-like skin and five rows of bony plates, called scutes, that serve as an armorlike covering. They are a primitive, bottom-dwelling, slow-growing, late-maturing anadromous fish. White sturgeon spawn in the large rivers of the Pacific Northwest in the spring and summer months and remain in freshwater while young. They have extremely firm flesh with a rich, earthy flavor.
The bad news is that many wild sturgeon runs in the Pacific Northwest are on the endangered species list. We feel most fish farms actually promote ecological destruction and further protein loss. Since there must be an exception to every rule, we do recommend farm-raised white sturgeon from Stolt Sea Farm in Elverta, California. They raise white sturgeon in an ecologically and economically sustainable environment.
The couscous and the eggplant may be prepared a day in advance and reheated prior to serving. Add a touch of vegetable stock or water to the pan while reheating.
Join the discussion on paprika, one of the key ingredients in this recipe.
To prepare the spicy eggplant:
To prepare the sturgeon:
Beverage pairing: A dry Gewürztraminer with hints of orange and spice will hold up to the spicy heat of the eggplant and the richness of the fish. Recommended: 2001 Alderbrook, Gewürztraminer, Russian River Valley, California; or 2000 Covey Run, Gewürztraminer, Washington state.