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May 01, 2012

May Fish of the Month: Farmed Arctic Char

Your seafood choices can have a big impact on the health of our oceans and lakes—so make sure they’re positive ones! Every month, Shedd’s Right Bite team highlights a sustainable seafood selection that’s both good for you and good for our planet. The Fish of the Month for May is farmed arctic char, and I have a tasty dish to share—spring salad with maple-miso arctic char.

As the sustainable seafood coordinator at Shedd, I am frequently asked, “Do you eat seafood?” and “What is your favorite sustainable seafood to cook?” The answer is yes, I do eat seafood—from the best choice list on Shedd’s wallet card—and my favorite dishes continue to expand! If you enjoy seafood, the “best choice” list can be a journey into diverse new flavors and recipes, just like it was for me.

One fish I enjoy is a cold-water finfish called arctic char. Arctic char comes from the Salmonidae family and, just like it sounds, is a close relative to salmon and trout. Although wild arctic char can be found in the northern Arctic regions of North America, Europe and northeastern Russia, the majority of arctic char sold in U.S. grocery stores and restaurants comes from farms.

Most arctic char are famed in land-based closed systems. These onshore farms filter and clean their wastewater, which means less pollution in nearby waters and fewer escapes into the wild compared to open coastal farms around the world. I use arctic char as a sustainable substitute in any recipe that calls for farmed Atlantic salmon.

This fish is versatile–it tastes great smoked, baked, or grilled. For this month’s recipe, spring salad with maple-miso arctic char, I chose to pan-fry it with a sweet and salty marinade recipe. I promise you will not be disappointed with the result!


Spring Salad with Miso-Maple Arctic Char
Serves 2

¼ cup miso
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
2 (5 oz.) farmed arctic char filets
3 cups of spring greens (i.e., arugula, watercress), washed
1 carrot, thinly sliced with mandoline or peeler
1 beet, thinly sliced with mandoline or peeler
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. In a small bowl, mix together miso, maple syrup and ginger.
2. Place arctic char in a bag and add marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. In another bowl, mix together greens, carrot, beet, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
4. Add remaining olive oil to pan over medium-high heat. Pan-fry fish on both sides for approximately 3 minutes or until fish flakes with fork.
5. Plate salad and top with the warm fish.

Posted by Brook Havlik, conservation
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