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Mar 27, 2008 11:26 AM

Arctic Char Recipes?

Hello Hounds,

I just bought, for the first time, two Arctic Char fillets. I'm not familiar with this kind of fish and would greatly appreciate suggestions on what to do with them (aside from grilling on the BBQ -- which is not possible for me at this time). With two little ones at my ankles, the easier the recipes the better!

Also, do I need to de-scale the skin side?


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  1. I just had some lovely arctic char the other night, and leftovers for lunch. Do descale the skin. I heated up a frying pan, heated up some olive oil, put the fillets skin side down for about two minutes, then flesh side down for two, checked them for doneness, reversed again, covered on lower heat, and just kept checking every 30 seconds or so. We like our fish slightly underdone, but arctic char tends to be a bit thinner than salmon, so I'm also careful about not over cooking. Drizzled a little olive oil and lemon juice on top. Oh - and I did season the fillets first with salt and pepper.

    5 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Thank you so much, MMRuth, for your SPEEDY response. Indeed, your recipe looks nice and fuss-free. Given the simplicity of ingredients, may I assume that Arctic Char is a mild-flavoured fish?

      (By the way, I never did get to thank you for your bread recipe, from way back. Your method worked out well for me, much better than the one I was using previously.)

      1. re: DishyDiva

        Yes - it is pretty mild - like wild salmon. I have to confess - I don't recall posting a bread recipe - not much of a bread maker! What kind of bread was it?

        1. re: MMRuth

          Oops! Sorry, I don't know why I thought it was you... I lost track of the thread but it was about how to make bread in a machine that wasn't dense or crumbly.

          1. re: DishyDiva

            Not a problem - I aspire to make bread one day!

        2. re: DishyDiva

          it's like salmon, but more luscious and rounded tasting, if that makes any sense. i haven't learned anything beyond the most simple fish prep--cover with salt and pepper and lemon zest or shallots a couple hours in advance, then put in the broiler until browned on top, no more than a few minutes. (and yes, i like pretty rare inside too). i love arctic char. enjoy.

      2. Arctic Char with Ancho-shallot butter. Haven't tried but have been wanting to ever since I saw the recipe.

        6 Replies
        1. re: bite bite

          Mmmm. This looks yummy as well. Problem is, I don't have any ancho chile in my pantry. I suppose I could try it without. The wine and coriander alone should give it a nice flavour.

          From both MMRuth and bite bite's suggestions, I gather it's best to slightly under cook the fish.

          1. re: DishyDiva

            Re the cooking - it's really a matter of personal preference, but do remember that the fish does continue to cook a tad after you remove it from the heat. I agree - that ancho chili (chile?) sounds wonderful.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I guess I've been over-cooking my fish, until now! In my defence, I tend to err on the side of caution in making sure everything is cooked well-done so that my kids don't end up with food poisoning, LOL. (Having said this, hubby and I LOVE sushi -- we just don't feed it to our kids -- yet.)

              Oh, I just noticed the NYTimes recipe calls for ancho "chili" and not "chile." I'm use to spelling it the way the Spanish (and most other Canadians?) do: "chile."

              I suppose I could just use some paprika instead of ancho chile. I have Spanish and smoked paprika. They could work.

              1. re: DishyDiva

                Well - with children, I would be cautious too. I'm going to look up the chile/chili thing - I'm never sure!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  To me, "chili" refers to the dish (as in chili con carne) and "chile" refers to the pepper itself.

                  Then again, I may be mistaken. Perhaps I'll look it up, too.

                2. re: DishyDiva

                  From one Canadian to another: Chile is a country, a chili is a delicious spicy thing! Unless you're speaking Spanish, of course...

          2. Any Dolly Varden recipe works for this fish

            2 Replies
            1. re: malabargold

              Dolly Varden? I'll need to look this up.

              1. re: DishyDiva

                A delicious small trout from mountain streams in B.C. and its neighbours.

            2. There is a wonderful recipe in the book Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, where they roast a whole artic char. You can ask you fish guy to prepare it in the way Jacques mentions ( head offm scaled and gills/guts taken out), and once you get it, you just smother the inside with the thyme, butter salt and pepper. I know you mentioned you had fillets so I imagine you can roast them in a similar manner for less time ( the whole wish takes about 25 min).If you ever want to make a fish dinner for 8 people though this is the way to go, it is so beautiful on a platter with a simple beurre blanc. and I think many home cooks are a little scared of cooking fish so this is especially impressive fo a dinner party. Enjoy! Char is one of those things that is so good it is hard to screw up so whatever you do will be great!

              1. Well, we had the arctic char found it d-i-v-i-n-e.

                Rose Water described the Char perfectly -- luscious and round -- because it is somewhat fattier than wild salmon (which to me is much leaner). The char also reminds me of Rainbow Trout, which has a similar delicate texture. Though I like the Char better. Personally, I'm getting bored with salmon and trout.

                I didn't have time to prepare the savoury butter from the NYTimes so I prepared it simply by quickly pan-frying it with salt and pepper in olive oil in my cast iron pan. I then made a light white wine, garlic and lemon "dressing" which I made using the pan-drippings before drizzling it onto the plate before placing the fillet flesh-side down on the dressing. This way, we were able to enjoy the crispy skin without it going soggy in the sauce.

                We loved it so much, I went out and bought two more fillets and ancho chile this morning just so that I can try the ancho-shallot butter recipe.

                We're trying to get more fish into our diets, so I'm already planning on trying to acquire the whole fish for next week in order to try out Cassoulady's suggestion.

                Thanks again, everybody for your help!

                3 Replies
                1. re: DishyDiva

                  I love rainbow trout as well - and sea trout, if you can find it.

         - sea trout recipe - probably not for the a week night dinner with the kids, but delicious.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Thanks for sea trout recipe, MMRuth. I'm not familiar with sea trout either but will hunt high and low for it. As involved as the sea trout recipe you've provided may be, I should be able to swing it on weekends.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Wonderful recipe and photos, M.M.; I'll definitely have to start using the skin in a sauce! I have a quibble about sea trout: weakfish, a white fleshed drum, is often sold as sea trout along the Atlantic coast, where it is caught. The fish in the photos is white fleshed, and unlikely to be
                      from the salmon/trout family. I bought frequently when I was a student in New York, always at a reasonable price. I don't see it here in Toronto, although some sushi places may have a farmed trout (pink) they call sea trout.