Arctic char (or charr) is so hot right now! Did you see that both teams on Top Chef used it last night in the Restaurant Wars episode? And Kevin won an early challenge with his recipe for arctic char with salsa verde of turnips.
Are you not yet a char devotee? The cold water fish is a member of the salmon family and follows suit by living in both saltwater and freshwater. It is the most northerly found freshwater fish, preferring glacial lakes and polar regions. But it's the farmed fish that are getting the most attention. Raised on land-based systems with raceways and tanks, there is little chance for the water pollution or habitat damage that is sometimes associated with fish farms. In fact, it's noted as a best choice by the Monteray Bay Aquarium. And don't even get me started on the bounty of omega-3s in this fish.
So what about the taste? It's often described as a cross between trout and salmon. The pinky orange flesh is soft and buttery when cooked lightly. The first time I ever had char was at The Oceanaire where they flash-fry the whole fish! It's a great presentation and I love it as an appetizer to share with the whole table, giving everyone a new taste. You can also find the fish on more refined plates in town: Heidi's is serving it with gnocchi, cabbage, and a bacon-beet-red wine sauce while Sea Change offers a nice hunk of crispy skinned char on tangy giardiniera.
Here's the best news: TODAY char is 20 percent off at Coastal Seafoods! As part of the salmon family, char fits into their weekly Thursday salmon special, so I might make it a tradition. Thursday belongs to char! I'm feeling this broccolini, olive, and garlic recipe tonight.