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Sauté of Northwest Sturgeon & Fresh Vegetable Gazpacho*

Serves 4

For the Sturgeon

4 sturgeon fillets (5-1/2 oz each)
1/2 T fresh thyme, finely chopped
Ground pepper

For the Gazpacho Vegetables

2 T finely diced eggplant, peeled
2 T finely diced zucchini
2 T finely diced yellow squash
2 T finely diced green bell pepper
2 T finely diced red bell pepper
2 T finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 T finely diced red onion
1/4 tsp minced garlic
4 tsp finely chopped sweet herbs (basil, parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon); reserve stems

For the Gazpacho Sauce

1 lb plum tomatoes, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 T shallots, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
Herb stems (reserved from sweet herbs)
2 oz white wine
1 C low-sodium tomato juice
Juice of 1 lemon
Ground pepper
1 tsp olive oil

The Sauce: In a saucepan, lightly sauté the shallots until they are translucent. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until the tomatoes begin to release their juices. Add the white wine, garlic, tomato juice, and herb stems; cook slowly until reduced by half, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

After the tomato mixture has reduced, remove the herb stems and liquefy the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Season with pepper and the lemon juice; blend again for 30 seconds. With the machine running, add olive oil until it is all incorporated. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve; taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

The Fish: Season the portioned fillets well with the pepper. In a large frying pan over high heat, sauté the fillets skin-side-up for about 60 seconds. Turn over and season with thyme. Continue to sauté on the range or finish cooking in a moderate oven. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

The Gazpacho Vegetables: In a small frying pan over high heat, cook all of the finely diced vegetables, tossing frequently so as not to scorch the vegetables, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and sweet herbs; season with pepper to taste. Vegetables should still be crisp and colorful.

To Serve: Ladle 2 oz of the sauce on four warm serving plates (the plates and fish will warm the sauce.) Place the fish in the middle of each plate, thyme-seasoned side up. Spoon 4 piles of the vegetables around the fish and serve.

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