Updated: Apr 8, 2021
This recipe is adapted from the April 2009 issue of Coastal Living Magazine. Arctic Char is a delicious fish from the family Salmonidae which includes Salmon and Trout. The recipe was pretty good but we found that with the addition of some chopped nuts for crunch and Bachan's Japanese BBQ Sauce for additional zest, sweetness and spiciness it becomes a dish that works for every night, special nights and even parties (we're waiting to be able to go back to parties!). Preparation is easy and the sauce can be done ahead of time. Do that and you can have dinner ready in less than 10 minutes!
It can't be said too often that overcooked fish is not a good thing. We tend to eat ours a bit more on the rare side and will describe how we cook it. Take care when cooking and realize that it will continue to cook after it is removed from the pan.
Eat the skin! 'Flabby' fish skin is not particularly pleasant to many. But if it is fried to a nice crispy state, it becomes the fish equivalent of Chicharrón and is considered a great appetizer or snack in many cultures. We like most of our fish fillets to be 'skin on' and then we cook them so the skin is crispy and the fish is medium to medium rare. While it might not be the most picturesque, we then serve the fillets skin side up. Otherwise they will just get soft in the sauce. If you don't want the skin, feel free to remove it before cooking... but always take care not to overcook the fish! Finally, if you can't get char, salmon (we recommend Sockeye) is a fine substitute.
Seared Arctic Char w/ Warm Mango-Lime Salsa, Cayenne Spiced Peanuts & Japanese Style BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 to 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup pineapple-orange juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
or 1/8th cup each orange juice concentrate and pineapple juice concentrate
1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
1 cup cubed mango (fresh or even frozen from bags)
1/4 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 (6-ounce) Arctic char fillets, skin on; at least 1/2" thick or thicker the better
2 TB canola oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2-4 TB chopped roasted, salted peanuts
1/4 to 1 tsp Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Bachan's Japanese BBQ Sauce
Steamed White Rice
Combine the nuts and cayenne (if using) and chop to a course grind (by hand or in a small food processor or blender). NOTE: if you are sharp eyed, you'll see we used some cashews... we ran out of peanuts. It's ok to improvise....
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in shallot and jalapeño. Cook, stirring often, 4 minutes or until shallot is soft.
Stir in broth, juice concentrate, and ginger. Increase heat, and boil gently 5 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in mango and rum; simmer 2 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water, and stir into mango mixture. Bring to a boil, and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in lime juice and salt; keep sauce warm.
Sprinkle both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat until smoking hot.
Get your serving plates ready (we always heat them when serving hot food) by placing the rice on the middle of each plate. You'll want to be ready as cooking the fish goes really fast.
Place fillets, skin side down, in skillet. Turn the heat down to medium. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until the you see that the fish is cooked about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom. It is important to use the oil called for since that promotes crispiness of the skin (you'll be leaving most of it in the pan when done). Flip the fish and cook for another 5 to 10 seconds.
The test for whether fish is done is if it flakes with a fork. But if the fillet isn't very thick it will go from flaky to overdone as it keeps cooking from residual heat when you put it on the plate. If you have a thick piece, you might cook for longer than the 5 to 10 seconds, but err on the side of less. You'll be rewarded.
Place fillets on top of the plated rice, divide sauce evenly over fish, and sprinkle with cilantro and chopped nuts.
Squeeze the BBQ Sauce over the fish and rice as desired. Provide more to diners if they prefer more!
While the recipe makes 4 servings it can easily be cut in half or doubled.
WINE SUGGESTION: A nice crisp white such as Riesling would be a good choice.