Arctic Char has a flavor similar to salmon and rainbow trout and is said to be sustainably farmed making it an "Earth-friendly" alternative to salmon. Arctic Char has a flavor and texture very similar to salmon - so this fish can be substituted anywhere you might otherwise use salmon and vice versa. I prepared ours over pan roasted asparagus and a sweet and sour red bell pepper sauce. The fish was amazing.
1lbArctic Char whole fillet or smaller 5-ounce portions
2Red Bell Peppers
3Tbspwhite wine vinegar
Ground black pepper
Fresh Basil – 1 large sprig or two smaller ones
Directions for the Sauce:
Julienne the bell peppers and shallots.
Heat olive oil in a hot pan, add the peppers and shallots, along with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Stir well and cook for about 3 minutes or until the peppers soften.
Add the whole basil and white wine vinegar.Reduce for a few moments over moderate heat until liquid absorbed. Add enough water to your pan to cover the peppers about midway. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until liquid is concentrated and reduced by about half.
Carefully add the hot peppers and liquid into the blender. Be sure to seal the lid of the blender. Puree until smooth. [See Notes]
Taste and adjust seasonings (sugar or vinegar) to a balance you enjoy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Directions For the Fish:
Lay the fish using a cutting board flesh side up. With clean hands, run your fingers up and down the length of the fillet feeling for small bones. If any bones are detected, remove them with a pair of kitchen tweezers. Trim up the edges of the fish so it is roughly the same thickness all the way through. Slice the whole fillet into 3 equal portions.
Now turn the fish over on the cutting board so the skin side is up. With a sharp knife, carefully score the fish every half inch across the length of the filet. Season with salt and pepper onto the skin and inside each of the scores. Repeat with the flesh side of the fillet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Massage the oil into the fish.
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a hot pan and add the fish, skin-side down. Hold the fish down with the fingers for half a minute to prevent curling. Ninety percent of the cooking will take place with the skin side down. After about 3-4 minutes, the skin should be crisp and you can see on the side of the fillet that the flesh is turning opaque. Turn the fish over and cook just until fish is cooked through but still moist and juicy in the center, about 2 minutes longer.
Plating and Serving Instructions:
Pour the sauce onto a rimmed plate or shallow wide bowl to secure the sauce – fill the bottom of the plate. Add cooked Arctic Char, skin side up. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the pepper sauce circling the fish. Garnish with some fresh basil (optional).
If you'd like to have a mix of sweet and sour peppers instead of a puree, skip the puree and plate then as julienned vegetables. Both are very tasty.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is sourced from the USDA Food Database.