Thursday, October 13, 2005

Seared Arctic Char with Apples and Mustard Cream

I needed some fun sauce to go with my seared arctic char experiment. Our friends brought us apples and curry mustard from their vacation in Vermont and that’s how our dinner came about. Since all members of the Salmon family (including Char) go well with sweet and spicy sauces, this turned out remarkably well. I served it with barley and roasted brussel sprouts.

Fish Substitutions: Salmon or Trout
If substituting salmon fillets thicker than 3/4 inch, you'll have to finish it in the oven, so preheat it to 400F before searing the fish.

Serves 4

2 cooking apples (such as Cortland or Granny Smith)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Calvados, Cognac, or some other booze
4 arctic char fillets with skin (6 oz each)
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tsp your favorite mustard
Salt and pepper
  1. Peel the apples and cut into large dice.
  2. Melt 1/2 Tbsp butter in a large non-stick skillet (or well seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Add the apples, and cook stirring occasionally until golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Add Calvados and mix the apples for another minute. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Dry fish fillets with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  4. Return the skillet to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter and swirl to coat the pan.
  5. Add fish fillets skin side down. Sear for 3 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Flip and sear for 30 seconds more for translucent center (that’s the way I like it), or another 1-2 minutes for well done. If using fillets thicker than 3/4 inch, finish cooking skin side up in the oven until desired doneness. Don’t exceed the total cooking time of 8 minutes per inch of thickness even if you like your fish well done.
    To test for doneness, flip one of the fillets back onto its skin and separate the flakes with a fork. If only a trace of translucency remains, the fish is well done. It will continue to cook after it’s off the heat.
  6. If using a non-stick skillet, pour the fat out of it and wipe it clean with paper towels. If using cast-iron, you might want to switch to a different skillet for making the sauce since the wine might remove some of cast-iron’s patina.
  7. Add wine to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce for 2 minutes.
  8. Turn down the heat, add the cream and mustard and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper, add the apples, and pour over fish.


Anonymous said...

What can be substituted for the heavy cream if I need to avoid most dairy (yogurt is pretty much all I can have)?

Helen said...

Hi there anonymous,

If you have to avoid dairy, just skip the sauce and serve seared char with a salad of very finely sliced fennel and radishes, and sectioned oranges. It's much more spring like anyway. Here is a detailed recipe:

If this URL gets cut off (they sometimes do in blogger comments, e-mail me and I'll send you the recipe).

For instructions on how to section an orange, search for "How to section an orange" on my blog.


Anonymous said...

I made it tonight, using Salmon, and it was wonderful. Will keep it in my list of recipes