Peppercorn-crusted Columbia River Sturgeon “La Grand Veneur”
Columbia River Sturgeon
“La Grand Veneur”
Eric Donnelly, RockCreek
Chef Eric Donnelly makes merry with
spicy black peppercorns and a sweet,
tart cranberry chutney, preparing
PeppercornCrusted Columbia River
Sturgeon "La Grand Veneur" at
RockCreek in Fremont. (Photo by Ken
Lambert / The Seattle Times)
For the cranberry chutney
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
Cheesecloth to make a sachet for the spices
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 (12ounce) bag fresh cranberries, washed
For the Grand Veneur Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
¼ cup brandy
½ cup rich veal stock (can substitute chicken stock)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
For the fish
Six 5ounce pieces of sturgeon or other firm white fish, skin removed
¼ to ½ cup coarsely ground black pepper
Olive or canola oil
Parsley leaves or chopped chives to garnish
1. To make the chutney: Place the cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf on a 6inch square of
cheesecloth, wrap up and tie with kitchen string to make a sachet. In a stainlesssteel
sauce pot, stir together the vinegar, sugar and spice sachet. Bring to a boil over medium
heat. Reduce the mixture until it becomes a light syrup (about 12 minutes).
2. Add the fresh cranberries and return to a boil. The cranberries will start to pop and
release their juices. The natural pectin from the cranberries will thicken the chutney.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the sachet. Put the chutney in a bowl to chill
and set aside. (The mixture will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.)
4. To make the sauce: In a stainless steel pan, melt the butter over medium heat; stir in the
shallots and thyme. Sauté until shallots begin to caramelize (about 1 minute). Deglaze
the pan with the brandy.
5. Add the stock and reduce over medium heat to a sauce consistency, about 2 to 3
minutes. Stir in the chutney and return to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, and
remove the pan from the heat.
6. To cook the fish: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dredge one side of the fish in the
pepper and sprinkle with salt to taste.
7. In a large, ovenproof saute pan over high heat, add enough oil to coat the pan. When it
begins to smoke, sear the fish on the peppercorncrusted side (about 1 minute). Place
the pan in the oven and bake until the fish is cooked through or reaches an internal
temperature of 140 degrees.
8. To complete the dish, place the sturgeon peppered side up on plates, pour a spoonful of
sauce on each fillet, and garnish with parsley or chives.