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Arctic Char with Fennel and Orange (Photo © Stephen Peck)

Arctic Char with Fennel and Orange

Sustainable Seafood Recipe

Delicate Arctic char, aromatic fennel, and colorful red onion wedges are seasoned with olive oil and grated orange peel, and then roasted in a hot oven. A simple balsamic vinegar and orange juice glaze is drizzled over both just before serving. Accompany the dish with basmati or jasmine rice. If you are cooking for two, make the entire recipe, and then on the next night toss the leftover fish, vegetables, and rice together for a satisfying salad.

Farmed Arctic char is a Seafood Watch "Best Choice" because it's farmed in an ecologically responsible manner.

  • (Serves 4)
  • 4 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide wedges, some fronds minced and reserved for garnish
  • 2 large red onions, peeled, cut through the stem end into 1-inch wide wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 4 teaspoons grated orange zest (from about 3 oranges), divided
  • 1¾ teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed coarsely in mortar with pestle if desired, divided
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Arctic char fillets, 5-6 ounces each
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar

Arrange one rack in the upper third and one rack in the lower third of the oven, then preheat to 450ºF. Combine the fennel wedges and onions in a large bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the orange zest, and 1 teaspoon of the fennel seeds and toss to coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a large-rimmed baking sheet. Place on the upper oven rack and roast for 15 minutes. Stir the vegetables and continue roasting until tender and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, brush a small, rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Brush the skin of the fish with olive oil and place skin side down on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the orange zest, and remaining ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds.

After the vegetables have cooked 20 minutes, place the pan with the fish on the lower oven rack and cook the fish until it feels springy when pressed in the center, about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. For another test of doneness, make a small incision in the thickest part of the fish; the flesh should be just opaque in the center. If it's still translucent, cook a few minutes longer.

While the fish cooks, mix the vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon grated orange zest in a large skillet. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer over medium heat until thickened to a syrupy texture, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Divide the vegetables and fish among 4 warmed plates, saving the juices on the fish pan. Stir 3-4 teaspoons of the fish juices into the balsamic sauce. Spoon the sauce over the fish and vegetables. Sprinkle lightly with fennel fronds and serve immediately.

Kristine Kidd
Kristine Kidd, Monterey Bay Aquarium Food Editor

Best Choice Arctic Char

Arctic Char

Most Arctic char is farmed in land-based, closed systems so there is a low risk of pollution, escapes and other impacts on habitat and wild fish populations.
iPhone Our app brings you up-to-date recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood and sushi. And the newest version, with Project FishMap, lets you share the locations of restaurants and markets where you've found sustainable seafood. As the map grows, you'll also be able to see what others have found near you.

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