Sturgeon cooked in river sand

Photo: Sturgeon cooked in River Sand (Image: Colin Page)

Serves 4


4 slices fresh sturgeon, about 140g each
40g aged pork cheek
rind from Parmigiano Reggiano
poplar and willow leaves
thyme, marjoram, mint
glass white wine
small seasonal vegetables, such as
carrots, asparagus, onions,
50g bacon, unsmoked

reserved cooking juices
pork cheek, diced
shallots, chopped
bacon fat, sieved
10c white wine

To serve
4 discs polenta, about 10cm diameter


For the sturgeon
Using a copper pan cover the bottom with river sand.
Using squares of baking paper create a parcel with the sturgeon, pork cheek, chopped parmesan crust, a few leaves of poplar
or willow, herbs to taste, pepper, and, finally, a dash of white wine.
Repeat the process with seasonal vegetables available, adding only bacon and herbs.
Place the parcels in the copper pan on a bed of poplar leaves.
Cover with more sand, leaving only the top uncovered.
Place in oven pre-heated to 170°C.
If using hot sand cooking time will be approximately 40 minutes; cold sand will require at least one hour.
Remove parcels from oven, open, and place the sturgeon and vegetables to one side.
Collect the cooking juices from both parcels to create a sauce.

For the sauce
Fry diced pork cheek.
Add shallots, reserved cooking juices and wine.
Reduce until reaches desired consistency.
Sieve, mount with bacon fat.

To serve

Toast polenta discs on both sides.
Place a polenta disc on each plate, top with the surgeon and surround with the vegetables and cheese rind.
Garnish with the sauce.

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