Sturgeon fish can be eaten. Sturgeon is a type of fish highly valued for its meat, particularly its roe, known as caviar (fish eggs).
Sturgeons are one of the few prehistoric types of fish that still swim in our waters to this day. However, some types of sturgeon are considered an endangered species.
The name “sturgeon” is a generalized term that makes up over 25 species of fish within the Acipenseridae family. With family roots dating back to the Triassic period, roughly 240 million years ago, this fish is almost like a swimming dinosaur!
They can be found in the rivers around Russia and Ukraine as well as the fresh waters of North America. In the United States, the state of Washington is one of the more popular regions to find the sturgeon.
Like many species of shark, some sturgeons can grow to large sizes up to 12 feet in length.
These fish usually spawn in freshwater as they feed in waters loaded with nutrients. They typically hunt and feed in the brackish parts of the bottom. Interestingly enough, locating one of these fish in waters south of the equator is almost impossible.
Can You Eat a Sturgeon Fish?
Yes, you can eat sturgeon. Most prefer to smoke the fish. The texture and firmness can be compared to that of a lobster or crab.
Sturgeon meat is often consumed in cooked or cured forms rather than raw.
What Does Sturgeon Taste Like?
The flavor of the sturgeon meat is mild and delicate. The meat is often compared to a cross between swordfish and halibut, with a slightly sweet and nutty undertone.
The texture of sturgeon meat is firm, but it can also be tender and moist when cooked properly. It holds its shape well during cooking.
The flavor profile of sturgeon caviar can be complex, with subtle hints of the sea and a delicate nuttiness. The eggs are often described as having a smooth and creamy texture that melts in the mouth. The taste can also vary between different types of sturgeon eggs, such as Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga, each offering its own unique nuances.
What Does Smoked Sturgeon Taste Like?
Smoked sturgeon has a unique flavor described as rich, buttery, and slightly sweet. The smoking process adds a depth of smokiness to the meat, enhancing its natural flavors.
Smoked sturgeon is considered a delicacy and one of the best ways to eat sturgeon fish.
How Much Does a Pound of Sturgeon Cost at the Fish Market?
While it can be rare to find sturgeon in most fish markets, some carry it occasionally. Usually, white sturgeon costs around $20/pound.
The price of sturgeon caviar varies:
- Osetra caviar: $100 per ounce
- Sevruga caviar: $120 per ounce
- Beluga hybrid caviar: $249 per ounce
- Kaluga caviar: $80 per ounce
How Do You Fillet a Sturgeon Fish?
Filletting a sturgeon fish requires some skill and the right tools.
Begin by rinsing the sturgeon under cold water. Make a shallow incision just behind the gills on the side of the fish. This cut should run from the top of the fish down to the belly.
Starting at the cut you made, insert the knife along the backbone and carefully follow the spine. Use the backbone as a guide, separating the flesh from the bones. Continue cutting all the way down to the tail.
Once you’ve completed the cut on one side of the fish, flip it over and repeat the process on the other side. Carefully remove the fillets from the fish, ensuring you have removed all the bones and rib bones.
Watch the video below for more detailed instructions specific to sturgeon filleting:
How Do You Cook Sturgeon?
Grilling is a popular method for cooking sturgeon. Just brush the fish with some olive oil and season it well. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and place the sturgeon fillets on the grill. Cook for about 4-6 minutes per side.
Baking is another simple and convenient method. Preheat the oven to around 375°F (190°C). Place the seasoned sturgeon fillets on a greased baking sheet or in a baking dish. You can drizzle the fillets with some lemon juice or add a bit of butter or olive oil for added flavor. Bake for about 12-15 minutes.
Poaching is a gentle cooking method that helps retain the moisture and tenderness of the sturgeon. In a wide saucepan or skillet, prepare a poaching liquid by combining water, broth, wine, or a mixture of these liquids. Add aromatics such as herbs, lemon slices, and spices to the liquid.
Bring the liquid to a simmer, then carefully place the sturgeon fillets in the liquid. Poach the fish for about 8-10 minutes.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Sturgeon?
Sturgeon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, and phosphorus.
Sturgeon is relatively low in saturated fat compared to some other types of fish and meat; this means it’s a healthy choice and a good addition to anyone’s diet.
Is it Ethical to Eat Sturgeon?
Some species of sturgeon, such as the beluga sturgeon, are endangered and consuming them would be considered unethical.
It’s key to know the conservation status of the particular sturgeon species you are considering consuming and whether it is sourced from sustainable and well-managed fisheries.
In recent years, sustainable aquaculture practices for sturgeon have been developed, particularly for the production of caviar. Farmed sturgeon, when sourced from reputable and sustainable farms, can be a more ethical choice compared to the wild-caught sturgeon population.
What is the Difference Between a Sturgeon and a Shark?
Sturgeons and sharks belong to different taxonomic groups and have distinct characteristics, habitats, and ecological roles.
Sturgeons belong to the Acipenseridae family. They are ancient fish that have been around for millions of years and are known for their unique appearance.
They have elongated bodies with bony plates, called scutes, instead of scales. They also have a distinctive snout called a rostrum, which is used for feeding.
Sturgeons are primarily freshwater fish, although some species can tolerate brackish or marine environments.
Sharks belong to the Chondrichthyes. They are cartilaginous fish, meaning their skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bone.
Sharks have streamlined bodies, paired fins, tiny flat scales and a prominent dorsal fin. They have a row of sharp, replaceable teeth and a powerful jaw for capturing and eating prey.
Sharks inhabit a wide range of marine environments, from shallow coastal waters to the open ocean. Some species can also tolerate brackish or freshwater habitats.