“Excuse me, I ordered the arctic char. This is salmon.” Have you ever uttered that to your waiter, then been assured that the pink-looking filet is actually arctic char? Well, it happens more often than you think. So, what exactly is this mysterious and trendy fish popping up on restaurant menus?
Arctic char is in fact related to salmon as part of the Salmonid family and resembled salmon in appearance. The flesh of Arctic char, both wild and farmed varieties, varies from pale orange-pink to bright red, depending on the region and the amount of pigment in the feed. The slender, gray-scaled fish is also related to the trout with medium-firm flesh.
Arctic char is rich and when slightly undercooked, it doesn’t require much fuss or embellishments. A good way to prepare it is by simply roasting it whole in a 500 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes and serving it with a simple white wine and butter sauce.
Although Arctic char is native to the Arctic, the majority on the market in the U.S. is currently farmed in Canada, Iceland, and Norway. The Monterey Bay Aquarium “Seafood Watch” has stated that Arctic char is an environmentally sustainable Best Choice for consuming.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.