Arctic char has a rich, subtle taste similar to salmon. This fish is high in omega-3s and the farmed variety ranges from light pink to deep red, weighing in around 4 pounds. Farmed Arctic char is widely available and is a great substitute for farmed Atlantic salmon. It has a mild flavor and a great texture. It is not quite as fatty as salmon.*
- Arctic char is available year-round fresh, frozen, whole, smoked, canned, or dressed.
- Arctic char is also referred to as Arctic charr or Alpine char, or iwana when used in sushi.
- Late summer or fall species are believed to have more flavor and fat.
*Chef’s tips from Barton Seaver:
Arctic char is not as fatty as salmon, called “salmon lite” because, like salmon, it has the same pink-colored flesh, but it is quite a bit softer in its flavor.
It’s a fish you want to cook and enjoy with the skin on, as it crisps nicely, adding to the overall appeal of the dish. I love to cook Arctic char whole, either roasting or grilling it, and, in general, it fits nicely into a roasting pan or on the grill. Char can dry out pretty quickly, though, so I recommend low-heat methods for cooking the delicate fillets.
Arctic char is easy to pan-fry, smoke, poach, broil, or bake.
More about Arctic char
Most of the Arctic char for sale in the U.S. is commercially farmed, raised predominantly in land-based closed system aquaculture facilities. As many farming Arctic char operations are believed to be well managed with low environmental impact, Arctic char is thought to be a sustainable seafood option. They are generally perceived to be a healthy, responsible seafood choice.
*Reprinted with permission from For Cod & Country © 2011 by Barton Seaver, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.