Recipes: Fish and Seafood

Poached and Breaded Sturgeon with White Wine Sauce

Adapted from Nott 1724


  • 1.5 lbs zucchini, sliced crosswise 1/2 inches
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp thyme, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 24 ounces sturgeon, four 6 ounce fillets
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp capers, drained/rinsed
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup panko


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Arrange the zucchini slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt. Let stand for one hour.

  3. In a small bowl blend the butter with the thyme and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Rinse the zucchini slices and pat dry. Return to baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread into an even layer and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn down temperature to 300 degrees.

  5. Sprinkle the sturgeon with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and refrigerate for 10 minutes. 

  6. In a large skillet combine the remaining wine, the herbs, and the shallots and bring to a boil and then a slow simmer. Season lightly with salt and pepper and add the sturgeon fillets. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat, turning once until the fish is barely cooked through- about 4 minutes. Transfer the sturgeon to a large plate. Strain the liquid into a bowl.

  7. Mix the egg white with 1 tbsp water. Take the sturgeon and brush with egg white. Dredge in panko. Move onto a baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for about 4 -6 mins or until lightly golden.

  8. Add the strained poaching liquid to the skillet and boil over high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes.

  9. Stir in the capers and remove from the heat. Swirl in the thyme butter and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

  10. Transfer the sturgeon and zucchini to plates, spoon the sauce on top and serve.

Original Recipe

Cut your Sturgeon into thick Slices, and stew them leisurely in Milk, White-wine, a little melted Lard, a Bay-leaf, and all well seasoned with the usual Seasonings; then take them out, drudge them with grated Bread, and broil them on a Gridiron, and serve them up upon a Sauce of Anchovies, Capers, Chibbols [spring onion], and Parsley shred a-part, good Gravy, a Clove of Garlick, and a Drop of Oil.

Nott, John. 1724. The cooks and confectioners dictionary. London: printed by H.P. for C. Rivington.

Boiled Sturgeon or Poor Man's Lobster

Adapted from Radcliffe 1823


  • 2 lbs sturgeon fillets 6 thick cut fillets
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 3 cup dry white wine
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a large saucepan mix together the wine, water, onion, carrot, celery, and tarragon. Bring to a boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 20 minutes to an hour.

  2. Arrange all the sturgeon in the broth and boil on low heat for 10 -15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices.

  3. Remove from heat and let cool in the broth.

  4. Mix the melted butter with the dill and Worcestershire sauce.

  5. Drain the sturgeon well. Serve with lemon juice and the melted butter sauce drizzled over the fish.

Original Recipe

Having cleaned a sturgeon well, boil it in as much liquor as will just cover it; add two or three bits of lemon peel, some whole pepper, a stick of horseradish, and a pint of vinegar to every half gallon of water.
When done, garnish the dish with fried oysters, sliced lemon, and horseradish, and serve it up with melted butter, with cavear dissolved in it; or with anchovy sauce; and with the body of a crab in the butter, and a little lemon juice.

A modern system of domestic cookery, or, The housekeeper's guide: arranged on the most economical plan for private families by M. Radcliffe, 1823, published in Manchester, England.

Roasted Shad on Cedar

Adapted from Megargee 1910 and Rorer 1886


  • 4 lbs shad
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • parsley, garnish
  • 1 lemon
  • cedar plank
  • 1/2 cup melted butter


  1. Clean and dress the shad. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Soak the plank in water and heat it up. Butter the heated plank. Place the shad, skin side down on the plank. Season the shad and coat it with the butter.

  3. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  4. Remove the planks from the oven and pipe mashed potatoes around the fish. Return to the oven until potatoes are golden and the fish is well done- about 5-10 minutes.

  5. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Original Recipe

There is only one way to cook a shad. Take her squirming out of the water, run with her to an open fire, clean her quickly, nail her on a thick hickory board, stand her in front of a fierce blaze and continually baste her with the finest gilt-edge butter until she is of golden brown color. That is the whole story; nothing remains but the eating. Megargee, Louis N. 1901 “The Shad of the Delaware.” In Seen and Heard, pp. 27-35. Vol. I. Louis N. Megargee, Philadelphia. This is the very best way of cooking shad :- The plank should be three inches thick, two feet long, one and a half feet wide and of well-seasoned hickory or oak. Pine or soft wood gives the fish a woody taste. Take a fine shad just from the water, scale, split it down the back, clean it, wash well and immediately wipe dry. Dredge it with salt and pepper. Place the plank before a clear fire to get VERY HOT. Then spread the shad open and nail it, skin side next to the hot plank, with four large-headed tacks. Put it before the fire with the large end down; in a few minutes turn the board so that the other end will be down, and do this every few minutes until the fish is done. To tell when it is done pierce it with a fork; if the flesh be flaky it is done. Spread with butter and serve on the plank or draw the tacks carefully and slide the shad on to a hot dish. The whitefish caught in the lakes are excellent when cooked in this manner. (pg 47) Rorer, S. T. 1886. Philadelphia cook book. A manual of home economics. Philadelphia: Macrae.

Shad Roe in Mushroom Cream Sauce

Adapted from The Woman’s Exchange Cook Book, Or an Economical and Practical American Cooker Encyclopedia, 1894


  • 2 lbs shad roe, about four pairs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 lb thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp shallots, finely chopped
  • cayenne pepper


  1. Rinse and drain the shad roe. Put the roe in a single layer in a skillet and add a 1/2 cup of milk, water to barely cover it, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper.

  2. Bring to a boil and cover. Let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

  3. Heat two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and add the flour, whisking to make a roux. When blended add the remaining milk and three quarters of a cup of the roe cooking liquid.

  4. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the nutmeg and cayenne. Strain sauce through a sieve, pushing to extract all liquid from any solids.

  5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add mushrooms and lemon juice. Cook briefly, until mushrooms are wilted and lightly browned. Add shallots and stir. Add to the strained sauce, reheating as nescessary.

  6. Drain the roe and transfer to the serving dish. Pour the mushroom sauce over the roe and serve.

Original Recipe

Wash 2 shad roes well in cold water. Put them in a small saucepan, add a teaspoonful of salt, cover with boiling water; put the lid on the saucepan, and simmer gently for fifteen minutes. Drain, remove the outer skin, and mash fine. Make a white sauce, add the roes gradually to it, boil it up once, and it is ready for use. Serve with baked shad.

The Woman’s Exchange Cook Book, Or an Economical and Practical American Cooker Encyclopedia. Chicago/Philadelphia: Monarch Book Company, 1894