Azerbaijani Fish Dishes
Since Azerbaijan is so close to the Caspian Sea, it makes a lot of sense that there are many fish dishes in Azerbaijani cuisine. Perch, salmon, trout and Caspian kutum are quite common for seafood dishes, but the most prized fish is sturgeon. There are officially 6 species of sturgeon living in the Caspian Sea, though sturgeons are endangered because of overfishing and environmental problems. This makes both sturgeon meat and caviar quite expensive, but the exquisite taste makes it a delicacy worth the price.
Sazan in Tendyr
A whole fish is cleaned, washed, grilled and then seasoned and baked in a tendyr (tandoori) oven. Sazan is served with sliced lemon and onion and chopped parsley.
Onion is fried in a pan, nuts are crushed and wetted, Cornelian cherries are chopped, and seedless grapes are washed and added to make a whole mix. After a whole fish is cleaned, washed, and sliced, the filling is placed inside the fish, salted and then baked in an oven.
Since there are several types of sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, kebabs made of sturgeon can be found in many places (and kebabs made of other fish are also quite common, since sturgeons are threatened). Sturgeon is cut into pieces, then covered in salt, pepper, and sour cream, and roasted on a small grill and served with fresh tomatoes and onions.
Finely chopped fish (often sturgeon) is mixed with onion, and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Hard white bread soaked in milk is also added, and then the mixture is formed into small cakes. These cakes are coated in crumbs, fried in oil, and served with fresh vegetables.
Though the most traditional dolma recipes feature red meat, a fish version is also quite tasty. Fish fillet is minced, and then mixed with finely chopped onion and coriander. This is used as the filling, which is wrapped in grape leaves and boiled in a broth made from fish bones until fully cooked. Then, fish dolma are served with matsoni, which is similar to yogurt.