Arctic char’s rich meat and easily crisped skin make it a good choice for the extreme pan-searing technique known as blackening, which was all the rage in the 1980s. Redfish, a species from the Gulf of Mexico, was nearly wiped out during the Cajun food craze. Highly spiced rice dishes, such as “dirty rice,” flavored with small bits of sausage, herbs, and vegetables, can be made with whole grains like brown rice or Wehani rice (a specialty whole-grain rice grown in the southwestern United States—organic Wehani is available from www.lundberg.com) as the main component of a meal. Served over such a rice, this robust fish dish makes a zesty meal for eight guests, twice as many as if the fish itself were used as the main dish.
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 pounds Arctic char fillets (cut into 8 pieces)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- Lemon wedges
Combine the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, basil, onion powder, oregano, and cayenne. Brush the fish with butter, season with salt, and coat well with the mixed spices.
Heat a large skillet over high heat 3 minutes. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat. Add the fish fillets, skin side up. Sear until dark brown; the pan should smoke as the fish cooks. Turn once. The fish should be medium rare. Serve with lemon wedges.
Quick Fish Salad: Toss 1 pound skinless, boneless cooked fish (such as Arctic char), with 6 tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard. Season with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, a squeeze of lemon, and cayenne to taste.
Quick Fish Cakes: Add 1 egg per pound of boneless, skinless cooked fish fillet (such as Arctic char) and enough cracker crumbs to make the mixture easy to shape (usually about ½ cup, depending on the moisture content of the fish). Season with ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, ½ cup sautéed chopped onion, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Form into 6 cakes, roll in additional cracker crumbs, and fry in butter or olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.