The smoked sturgeon here is baked with maple syrup, crushed red pepper and garlic so it’s spicy and sweet, and then it’s mixed with crème fraîche to make a luxurious spread. Slideshow: Appetizer Recipes
Preheat the oven to 300°. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Fold in the sturgeon, thyme, maple syrup and crushed red pepper and bake until the fish is heated through, about 10 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.
Scrape the contents of the skillet into a food processor and let cool completely. Pulse until very coarsely chopped. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, fold in the crème fraîche and lemon zest and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Serve the smoked sturgeon spread with grilled bread, watercress and pickled onions.
The smoked sturgeon spread can be refrigerated overnight.