Tag: sturgeon

Ten things to know about sturgeon – Italian Cuisine

Ten things to know about sturgeon

All there is to hope about sturgeon: how much it lives and where it lives, what species we have in Italy, how to cook it, how you get caviar from its eggs, where to go and eat it …

If caviar is one of the most expensive foods there is, there will be a reason. And to find out why, you need to know its producing animal, or sturgeon, which in addition to being one of the largest freshwater fish there is, is also known for its fine meats. Caviar, on the other hand, is obtained by processing and salting the eggs of different sturgeon species, which were once much more common. Then over time they almost disappeared from the Lombard rivers, but fortunately some farms were born, even small ones, such as that of theAgriturismo Loghetto di Crema, which in dialect means "small place". The owner Anna Maria Mariani, an agricultural entrepreneur of Milanese origin, also breeds and cooks other freshwater fish such as tench, eel and catfish, typical of cremasco, also because her husband Antonio had told him: «You are too good at cooking the freshwater fish, never stop ". And so she did.

A Lombard production

In Italy sturgeon is a native fish. In the past it was much more widespread, in rivers such as the Po or the Adda. Then, over time, due to climate change and pollution, he too had the same fate as other specimens: extinction. Added to this is a widespread prejudice on freshwater fish, which has always been less considered than that of the sea. But luckily not everyone thinks so and some have been born over the years farms, especially in Lombardy, who saved him from disappearing.

An infinite number of sturgeons

There is an infinite variety of sturgeon species, around over a hundred. But only a few are widespread in Italy: for example there is the common sturgeon, the pinocchietto and the Cobice, what they breed at Agriturismo Loghetto, present only and exclusively in Italy.

Weight and age

Sturgeons have long life. They are prehistoric and centenary animals, which can go as far as 100 years of life. And considering that they gain about a kilo a year, they can also weigh 100 kilos! The maximum perfection for the consumption of its meats is around the seventh, eighth year of life. In general, the younger the sturgeon meat, the more delicate it is. For the production of caviar, however, it is not mentioned until the eleventh year.

Male or female?

Another of the reasons that makes caviar so rare and valuable, is that up to the eleventh year of age it is impossible to understand if the sturgeon is male or female: they are totally indistinguishable and therefore it is not known whether or not he will lay eggs. Once sex is established, the sturgeon female will continue to lay eggs for years. But how can you tell if he made them?

How to tell if there are eggs

It is also impossible to know if there are eggs in the female. The only way is to have a very expensive large machine that allows you to do an ultrasound, which only the biggest manufacturing companies like Giovannini of Calvisano, in the province of Brescia. Here they also have the tools to engrave the sturgeon female and extract the eggs without killing the animal, an operation possible for a maximum of three times. The only alternative is to suppress them directly in the uncertainty of what will be inside: for example, last year, at the Loghetto they found 70 kilos of caviar in a 20-year-old sturgeon, a real surprise! Finally, to further justify the cost of a product such as caviar, there is the whole long phase of processing and salting the eggs.

Albinos, a rarity

The most requested and prized caviar is the white one, once served only to tsars and emperors. Do you think it can cost you too $ 25,000 a kilo! This is because, explains Anna Maria, even among sturgeons, as well as among human beings, albinos are very rare, so they make this type even more precious.


Sturgeon does not have its seasonality and therefore available all year round, even more on farms, where the water has a constant temperature of about 4-5 degrees. The month of Septemberhowever, as well as for other animals, it is the best time because after the summer the sturgeon is tired and tried, so he eats a little less and his meat is leaner.


Unlike other freshwater fish such as trout, torpedoes or pike that eat the seabed, sturgeon is not a predator, but a carnivore that, having no teeth, suck the food. Anna Maria breeds them only with a bio preparation based on shrimp, also because on such a product there are many controls by the ASL.

In the kitchen

Before cooking it, sturgeon must be able to clean it, since it has special shields on its back, as hard as stone. When fresh, its meat is firmer and more consistent, making it ideal on its own baked. Alternatively, sturgeon is excellent for seasoning pasta, such as stuffed with ravioli, in a risotto, or fried, in a dish that Anna Maria calls the sturgeon nuggets, that is, meatballs served with a fennel and orange salad. But even the sturgeon does not throw anything away, so every part of it is used, such as the head, perfect for preparing a sauce. Being such a precious animal, you don't always find it on the menu, but only on request when Anna Maria catches it by reservation and cooks it immediately for her most loyal customers, those who have tried it once and from there have not more stopped. Indeed, if Anna knows it in advance, she also keeps sturgeons on a diet for about fifteen days, so that they purge everything well and that the meat is as firm as it should be.

The pairing with the wines of Oltrepò Pavese

For over seventy years, in the Ruinello di Sotto hamlet, in Santa Maria della Versa, in the province of Pavia, in the heart of Oltrepò Pavese, the farm Manuelina produces two wines that seem to have been born to spend their life with sturgeon: they are a Riesling it's a Classic method, selected by Elisa, children of Anna Maria, a great passionate and profound wine connoisseur, who after various experiences around the world understood that no, a place like the Loghetto, with all its sturgeons, would not have left it never.

Recipe Sturgeon stew with cabbage – Italian Cuisine

Recipe Sturgeon stew with cabbage

  • 600 g sturgeon fillet, without skin or waste
  • 350 g cabbage
  • 150 g liquid cream
  • shallot
  • parsley
  • dry white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

To prepare the sturgeon stew with cabbage, peel the cabbage and boil it in plenty of boiling salted water, drain it al dente, then cut the leaves into squares. Reduce the sturgeon filet into big dice, which you will cook for 3 minutes, over a moderate flame, with a little oil and a finger of wine. Then add the sliced ​​shallot, the cabbage squares, the cream, salt, pepper. Let it boil, cover it and cook for about 10 minutes. Complete with chopped parsley, transfer the stew into a serving dish and serve immediately hot.

The real sturgeon caviar and low cost alternatives – Italian Cuisine

The real sturgeon caviar and low cost alternatives

Small fish eggs, they all look the same, but they are not: here is a reasoned guide to orient yourself in the world of caviar. The qualities, the methods of production and conservation, the false myths to dispel and the alternatives of other fish – cheaper but equally tasty

It should be served directly in its container, or in a glass container, on a base of ice that preserves its freshness, better if accompanied by blinis: to bring the caviar to the table you have to follow some good rules, like when you have a dealing with an important guest. Because caviar is a symbol of luxury and elegance, but it is also a product whose quality must be respected and valued. In the first place knowing him.

From the sturgeon the "true" caviar

With the term caviar we indicate the salted and preserved sturgeon eggs. If the salt that is added is little, you have the caviar malossol, literally, "slightly salty": it is the fresh caviar, with a delicate taste that is both complex and persistent. It is the most prized, produced only with whole sturgeon eggs, large and perfect. In some cases the eggs come instead pasteurized, to give a product of lesser value, more "crisp" but which is preserved longer. You can then find the "pressed caviar", based on small or broken eggs, salted and decidedly salted.

Several species of sturgeon, different types of caviar

A second classification is given by the varieties of sturgeon from which the eggs come. This is how caviar is made Beluga, extracted from the sturgeon Huso Huso: large eggs, bright gray, juicy and fat, highly appreciated and precious. Caviar is rare and prized Oscietra, with a golden hazel color. On the other hand, the eggs are small and dark Sevruga, the most intense in terms of taste.
"The types of caviar are numerous and each has its own history – Stefano Bottoli points out, sales manager for Italy of France Calvisius Caviar – currently we are experiencing a great success with the Tradition that is given by White Sturgeon and it is characterized by an elegant and delicate taste at the same time .

Quality is not just a question of price

As for quality, Bottoli emphasizes that "Beluga is certainly the most expensive but not necessarily the best. There are other caviars such as Oscietra and the Sevruga of Ars italica or the Siberian or the same Tradition of Calvisius which are certainly listed as caviar by connoisseur . The choice must be guided by several elements: «taste is definitely the main factor, but also the smell, during the selection phase, is important: it must be almost absent . Then there are gods myths to dispel, continues Bottoli: "color and size are instead factors linked to legends that, in reality, are not confirmed by an organoleptic level: there are small and dark caviar exceptional and yellow eggs (given by albino Sturgeons) of large size that do not they keep their promises ".
As far as the provenance is concerned, the caviar that is increasingly widespread and appreciated is the Italian one which, in these years, is considered a real qualitative reference point.

Not just sturgeon

By extension they are called mistakenly "caviar" also the eggs of other fishes: next to the very popular lumpfish eggs, it should be remembered those of salmon, bright orange red and delicate perfume, and those of trout; those of herring and those mullet, perfect to use in the kitchen, and the very special ones of whitefish of Lake Kalix, in Lapland.


Proudly powered by WordPress

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Click here to read more information about data collection for ads personalisation

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Read more about data collection for ads personalisation our in our Cookies Policy page