Of my favorite fishes, arctic char is probably in my top 5. It is a cold water fish, a member of the salmon family, indigenous to the very northern parts of the world, and can be characterized as a cross between a salmon and a trout. It is so good, and so very easy to cook.
It’s delicious. The skin is delicate, has a decent layer of fat underneath, and has a firmer texture than salmon, and therefore holds up well to high heat cooking. The skin is usually left on, cooked until crispy, and will develop a wonderful flavor and texture.
Arctic char is normally pan roasted in restaurants to develop that crisp skin without overcooking the rest of the filet. This is, of course, exactly how I like to prepare it, and this recipe I am going to share utilizes the same technique. I have paired it with sweet corn, andouille sausage, sweet potatoes and tatsoi; a slightly peppery and tender green roughly the size of spinach.
You will find this to be a great pairing, with multiple flavors, textures, and great balance of sweet, crisp, smooth and savory. Try this with a big chardonnay or pinot noir…. you cannot go wrong!
Crisp Arctic Char with Charred Corn, Andouille, Sweet Potato and Tatsoi ‘Hash’
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Yield: 4 portions
2 arctic char filets, skin on, cleaned of excess fat, about 1 lb each, cut in half (8 oz individual portions)
2 ears of corn, charred on a grill, kernels cut off
1 link smoked andouille sausage, cut into medium dice
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice
1/2 yellow onion, medium dice
1 cup tatsoi (sub with wild arugula or baby spinach if unavailable)
cracked black pepper
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
Heat an oven to 400. In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp oil to med high and add the sweet potato and onion. Cook until slightly tender. In an oven safe heavy bottom saute pan, bring oil to high heat. Season the fish both sides with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan, skin side down, and begin to sear. Agitate the pan from time to time to make sure the fish isn’t sticking. When the skin begins to color slightly, add the butter, thyme and garlic to the pan. Put the whole pan in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.
Meanwhile, add the corn and andouille to the sweet potatoes. Cook until the sausage begins to render and the corn is fully tender. At this point, the sweet potatoes should be fully cooked and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tatsoi and continue to cook until wilted. Check seasoning.
Remove the fish from the oven and let rest 2 minutes.
On 4 warm plates, mound a little of the sweet potato and corn ‘hash’ in the center. Place the fish on top, crispy side up. Serve right away.