There are no more virgin oceans. We humans have reached our filthy fingers into every available body of water in search of fish. The mantra of “eat less meat and more fish” is working. Climate change and commercial fishing are depleting the number of available fish species. Overfishing has depleted the populations of cod, tuna and salmon by two-thirds. WOW. Who knew Good Friday or could be so bad! But there is a way to reverse the damage . And yes of course, it involves a sweet and savory arctic char recipe.
How to choose ocean-friendly fish
There are plenty of food friendly fish in the sea (and an app for that). All are both healthy for us, and healthy for the ecological system. More and more you can find sustainable aquafarms AKA land-based operations that raise fish in sustainable fashion. Like succulent arctic char, it’s mostly farmed in the United States, and rated a “best choice” for sustainability by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
An easy arctic char recipe to get you
sailing eating in the right direction
On a lighter note, I find the name is an oxymoron. When you hear arctic you think cold, but when you hear char you think hot. My kind of fish – one with a personality. And a pink-fleshed fish with a mild salmonesque flavor.
It pairs great with a plethora of side dishes, like sweet potato gratin or a mesclun (mixed green) salad, and white wine cream sauce with grapes. Yep, grapes. Rich, tart and sweet all at once. A perfect balance of flavors. One the oceans will thank you for eating. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself, too, for making it.Print
Taking the leap to cook fish at home can feel daunting – but after you sear or grill up a fillet a few times, you’ll see how exceedingly simple it is. Fish require very little flipping (if at all) and VERY little fuss. I like serving this one with a light mesclun salad with a vinaigrette of any kind.
Char and sustainably-caught salmon are both an easy, nutrient-packed weeknight dish. Feel free to use any fresh or dried herbs you might have on hand! Thyme, oregano, basil, and especially chives or green onions pair great with fatty fish.
I even taught Husband how to do it, so it MUST be easy!
3-6 ounce Arctic char fillets, one per person
Lemons, quartered, seeds removed, for squeezing over cooked char
For Cream Sauce
- 2 cups dry white wine, leftover is fine
- 1 each bay leaf
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Fresh tarragon, chopped
- ½ cup seedless grapes, halved
Prepare cream sauce
- In a small saucepan combine white wine, peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil and reduce by half.
- Add heavy cream and reduce a little more. Strain through a mesh sieve and return to pot over low heat to keep warm.
- Add in dried or fresh herbs, salt to taste and halved grapes, and keep warm in the pot with burner off. Warm over low heat once fish is cooked.
Sear or Grill Char
- Season arctic char with salt and pepper, and dust with any kind of flour. For gluten free diets use brown rice flour, potato flour, arrowroot or tapioca starch. For GAPS diet, use any kind of fine-ground nut flour.
- Pour enough avocado oil into a large sauté pan to film the bottom, and bring to medium-high heat. Or preheat a grill to medium-high heat, and oil the grates well.
- When oil shimmers or grill is smoking, add fish skin side down and cook until well browned.
- If sautéing on the stove, you can flip the fish once when fish is almost fully cooked to crisp the flesh slightly. If cooking on the grill, DO NOT flip the fish, and cook skin-side down the entire time.
- Fish is cooked when the flesh turns opaque and flaky, and before any fat begins to seep out of the flesh (this means you cooked it a little too far).
- Warm sauce as fish rests, and drizzle over char. Serve with lemon wedges, sweet potato gratin and mixed greens tossed with high-quality vinaigrette made with olive, avocado or nut oil.
Vinaigrette is SUPER fast to make. Start with a 1:1 ratio of your choice vinegar to oil, and season and adjust to your liking. I add a little honey, dijon or yellow mustard to any vinaigrette to help it emulsify and keep from separating.