Arctic char is related to salmon. But it has a milder, buttery taste. Aficionados liken it to trout. And, like salmon, char is loaded with heart-healthy oils. It’s good roasted whole, sautéed, broiled and grilled. The recipe here pairs char fillets with a salad made from springtime vegetables: small new potatoes, asparagus, leeks, and earthy morel mushrooms.
Napa Valley chef and restaurateur Cindy Pawlcyn created this recipe for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a leader in the sustainable seafood movement. The aquarium tapped Pawlcyn last year to manage its dining services. (Click here to see the Arctic char recipe.)
You can enjoy farmed Arctic char without feeling guilty that you may be damaging the world’s char population. The Monterey Bay Aquarium ranks farmed Arctic char a “Best Choice” in its Seafood Watch guide.
The fish, the aquarium notes, is “farmed in an ecologically responsible manner.” Char is sold as whole dressed fish or steak. Char also is smoked or canned. It’s called iwana when prepared as sushi.
Pawlcyn gives you options for cooking the fish and vegetables in her recipe. The char, asparagus and morel mushrooms can be charred in a heavy skillet, a grill pan, or on a grill. You can also use dried morels if you don’t have access to fresh ones.
The asparagus and mushrooms are first marinated in extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper before they’re charred in the pan or on a grill. The potatoes are boiled. The cooked vegetables are dressed with a vinaigrette made from rice vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, dried mustard, fresh chives and a leek.
Once cooked, the char fillets are individually plated on top of the vegetables and drizzled with some of the vinaigrette.
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