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March 01, 2010

Fish of the month - arctic char

March’s fish of the month is farmed arctic char.

Farmed arctic char brings back especially fond memories for me. It’s been a Right Bite team favorite for years, but I grew to appreciate this fish even more after I served as a judge in an arctic char recipe contest last fall. My fellow judges and I had a great afternoon restaurant-hopping and tasting all the wonderful and different ways this fish can be prepared.

The winning dish that we selected was accompanied by bamboo rice, nasturtium purée, rice-bran-oil powder and champagne vinegar whip – pretty fancy ingredients! Arctic char is such a versatile fish, however, that it doesn’t require elaborate preparations to taste good. Farmed arctic char has a firm texture and a delicate but rich flavor – like salmon, only milder. (Arctic char is closely related to salmon and trout.)

More important, farmed arctic char is as sustainable as it is delicious. Arctic char is raised in land-based closed farms with recirculating water systems. Unlike open farms, where fish are raised in net pens in an open body of water, closed farms have minimal disease transfer, pollution and habitat effects. That's why arctic char is listed as a best choice on our seafood wallet card.

Make farmed arctic char your fish of the month, too! Try this fantastic recipe by Kim Stakal, our sustainable seafood educator:

Seared Arctic Char with Almond-Lemon Sauce
Serves 4.

4 6-ounce farmed arctic char fillets
Sea salt and black pepper
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
¼ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, for garnish

1) Season fish lightly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, dip fillets into flour to lightly dredge.
2) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When hot, add fillets and cook 3 minutes. Flip fish over and continue cooking until done, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
3) Add butter, lemon juice, almonds and parsley to pan. Cook until almonds are toasted and liquid has turned golden. Pour sauce over fish; garnish with lemon wedge and additional parsley, if desired.

Posted by Kassia Perpich, conservation

Fish of the month is sponsored by:
Whole Foods

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my mom just made that and IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!! btw, what is an arctic char? is it a fish from the arctic?

Thanks for your comment! You’re correct -- arctic char is a fish naturally found in the Arctic regions of North America and Europe. Commercial farming of arctic char occurs primarily in Iceland, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Arctic char is in the salmonidae family of fish, making it a close relative of salmon and trout. We're glad you enjoyed the recipe!

Thank you SO MUCH Emmy and Madeline for an AMAZING Beluga Encounter this morning! Puiji was such a good girl! She's a big bundle of vocals tangled up in sweet mixed with a bit of attitude!

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