Sturgeon

(Recipe #54, pages 136 – 137)

When the sturgeon has been killed and gutted, wrap it in a cloth and lay it on a stone slab in the cellar for a day or two, because it is tough when cooked fresh. Before boiling, rub it down several times with salt and water to remove all traces of slime; depending on its size, cut it into 5–12 pieces, which can be further divided into convenient pieces after cooking.

Set the fish on the stove in cold water with a handful of nettles, which help tenderize the flesh and also extract the oil. Bring the water slowly to a boil and simmer slowly for ½ hour, constantly removing the scum. Then place the fish in fresh boiling water, along with 6–10 onions, some bay leaves, 1 dram of cloves, 4 drams of peppercorns, and 1 bouquet of thyme, sage, and marjoram; simmer the fish very slowly for up to 1 hour, while carefully removing all the fat that surfaces.

Add salt only after the flesh is tender; let the fish rest in the water for some time to absorb the salt. Then remove the fish, cut off all protruding gristle, and cut the fish into smaller pieces as mentioned earlier. Serve with butter and a good mustard or parsley sauce.

The leftover pieces can be kept for several days in the broth if vinegar is added and then served with olive oil, vinegar, pepper, mustard, and minced onions.

Translated by David Green.

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