Arctic Char with Minted Sweet & Sour Pan Sauce

The slightly minty sweet & sour pan sauce is so easy to prepare and really adds a complex level of flavors to the fish in the pan-seared Arctic Char recipe.

Arctic Char with Minted Sweet & Sour Pan Sauce 

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  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 clove garlic, peeled & minced
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoon mint leaves, thinly chopped
  • 4 arctic char fillets
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat oil in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until coated with oil. Let the garlic cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes until just beginning to color. Lower the heat to low and add broth, brown sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, and half of the chopped mint. Stir often until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and cover the pan while you prepare the fish.

Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Salt & pepper the fish fillets generously on both sides. Add them, skin side down to the dry pan. Cook until the skin is very crisp, dark brown and releases easily from the pan. This should take 2 to 3 minutes. Do not be tempted to check or move the fish around in the pan during this time. You will only succeed in making it stick to the pan or worse ruin your beautifully crisp skin.

As it cooks you will notice that the fish gets lighter and more opaque. Do not let it cook more than about ¼ of the way through the thickest part at this point. You might be worried that the rest of the fish seems quite raw, but honestly this is a good thing. Once the skin has crisped flip the fish, and cook it an additional 2 minutes more, or until cooked to your liking. Do not let it cook all the way through, however. The fish will continue to cook after it leaves the pan. Your goal is a succulent flesh graduating from a rare to medium-rare center outwards to a crispy crackly skin. The nature of char with it’s thick and thin parts assures you will get plenty of variety in texture and doneness.

Once the fish is cooked. Remove the fillets to a warm plate. Pour the sauce into the hot skillet through a sieve. Discard solids. Cook the sauce, scraping any bits from the bottom of the skillet, until it is reduced somewhat and a bit syrupy.

Plate the fish and drizzle some of the minted sweet & sour pan sauce over or around each fillet. Garnish with remaining chopped mint. Serve warm.