Arctic Char with Asian Braised Fennel and Citrus Emulsion

Arctic Char is a wonderful fish. With a taste and texture similar to both trout and salmon, it’s also delicious. Besides it’s rated a “Best Choice” by Seafood Watch. Arctic Char with Asian Braised Fennel.

Arctic Char with Asian Braised Fennel and Citrus Emulsion 

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  • 2 ounce oranges, zest only
  • 1 whole stalk lemongrass, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 piece (3″ size) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fennel stems and fronds
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 head fresh fennel quartered lengthwise
  • water
  • 4 tablespoon infused oil, from this recipe
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 18 pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 (6 ounce) fillets of artic char (skin on)
  • salt and pepper


Infused Oil

1. Combine half of orange zest, lemongrass, ginger, chopped fennel, and oil in a small microwave safe bowl

2. Heat the oil to a near boil in the microwave. Approximately 3 minutes. Remove from microwave cover, and steep overnight. Strain and reserve oil the next day.

Braised Fennel

1 Trim the fennel bulb and quarter it lengthwise. If the bulb is large you may need to cut it 6 or 8 pieces. Each about 1″ across at widest point

2. Place the fennel in a skillet just big enough to hold the fennel in one layer. Barely cover the pieces with water about 3/4 of a cup. Add the 1 tablespoon of the infused oil, butter, peppercorns, pink peppercorn or bay leaf, sugar and a pinch of salt. There is a delicate balance between pan size, vegetable size and cooking times. You want it all to reduce to a glaze about the same time the fennel is cooked to perfection.

3. Bring the liquid and fennel to a boil, then lower the heat and gently simmer about 20 minutes. The liquid should reduce down to a shiny glaze in this amount of time. Try and work the timing out so this happens with out overcooking the fennel. You may have to remove the fennel and continue reducing the glaze to get the timing just right. When finished glazing, remove the fennel from pan and set it aside. You will return the fennel to the pan and gently reheat it when you are ready to plate.

Citrus Emulsion

1. For citrus emulsion combine all the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor. Blend on high for 2 minutes. You may substitute any combination of citrus you have handy.

Arctic Char

1. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a sloped sided skillet large enough to hold the fish with out crowding. Bring the oil to near smoking.

2. Then add the rest of the orange zest, orange juice, lime zest & juice, rice wine vinegar, ginger and remaining 3 tablespoons infused oil. Cook undisturbed, skin side down for about 2 minutes. The skin will release itself from the pan when it is ready. Do not attempt to turn it over before that. You will see a nice golden crust forming around the edges.

3. Flip the fillets and cook an additional 1 ½ to 2 minutes until almost medium rare (it will continue to cook after it leaves the pan).

4. Drizzle some of the citrus emulsion onto a plate in an attractive manner. Lay one fillet in the center of each plate and top with 2 slices of the reheated braised fennel.

5. You may garnish with any combination of extra pink peppercorns, fresh fennel fronds and fried shallots. Add a drizzle of the infused oil over the top. Serve warm.