Traditional fish and chips usually include battered cod, halibut, haddock, or even plaice. But Morgan Lechner, Executive Chef of the Pier 73 Restaurant at the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond, has discovered the extraordinary taste and quality of white sturgeon.
“White sturgeon can be found and fished for in the Fraser River,” he explains. “It really is an incredibly versatile fish. It’s been around in the Fraser River since the dinosaurs and it hasn’t changed at all.”
Chef Morgan gets his supply of sturgeon from Target Marine, a producer of the world’s only certified organic caviar made from sturgeon eggs.
“Target Marine is located in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast,” he explains. “About 18 years ago it received some white sturgeon from a local university and turned a land-based fish farm into a sturgeon farm. Because female sturgeon reach the age of about 15 before they produce eggs, it wasn’t until four or five years ago that Target was able to start producing caviar in any decent quantity.”
While Target’s caviar quickly gained popular acceptance as a certified organic brand, Chef Morgan and his team at Pier 73 opted to serve the fish.
“It’s an absolutely amazing and versatile fish,” he says. “We removed halibut from our fish and chips menu and now use white sturgeon instead. We batter and deep fry the fish and serve it with our tartar sauce, coleslaw, and hand-cut fries, and customers love it!”
If you don’t want to batter sturgeon, how else could you cook it?
“Because it’s so versatile,” Chef Morgan says, “you can fry it, bake it, or even barbeque it. Sturgeon has a dense, meaty consistency that, even when overcooked, doesn’t dry out. I call it the ‘chicken of the river’ for its versatility. It sears nicely and does well on the BBQ.”
If you’d like to try one of Chef Morgan’s sturgeon dishes, but aren’t really a fish and chips fan, he also serves sturgeon crab cakes and a sturgeon crab cake salad as well as a delicious sturgeon BLT on a brioche bun with a slice of Gelderman pork.
For more information on the Pier 73 Restaurant, check out their website and follow them on Twitter or visit the location at 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond. For information on the Pacific Gateway Hotel, see their website or call 1.866.382.3474 for a reservation.