|Serves||4 to 6|
Arctic char is similar to salmon, with beautiful rosy flesh, a tender, flaky texture, and a sweet buttery flavor. It has the added bonus of being listed as a “best choice” selection by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, which encourages consumers to buy fish and shellfish that are not endangered and that are environmentally friendly. I learned this superb slow-roasting technique from my friend Diane Morgan’s book Salmon. Cooking the fillet slowly at a low temperature produces a wonderfully succulent, deeply pink fish. It is a perfect dinner party centerpiece.
|1||two-pound fillet arctic char, pin bones removed|
|3||Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil|
|1||tsp. fennel pollen (see Note)|
|~||Kosher or sea salt|
|2||fennel bulbs, stems removed (reserve the fronds), bulbs quartered lengthwise, each quarter cut crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices|
|~||Freshly ground pepper to taste|
|3||Tbsp. Pernod (see Note)|
|2||Tbsp. chopped fennel fronds|
|½||cup heavy or light cream|
Fennel pollen is the pollen collected from wild fennel. It is harvested in Italy and in California and is, like saffron, quite expensive. However, it has a unique, heavenly aroma and distinct flavor, with hints of anise, saffron, and curry. Also, a little goes a long way, so if you do splurge, use it sparingly and it should last you a while. You can substitute 1/2 teaspoon finely crushed fennel seeds and the tiniest pinch of curry powder.
Pernod is a liqueur produced in France that gets its flavor from star anise and the licorice plant. It is enjoyed as an aperitif but is also used in cooking and baking.
The fennel can be sautéed up to an hour in advance up to the addition of the Pernod. A few minutes before serving the fish, reheat the fennel over medium heat. When it is hot, turn the heat up and add the Pernod. Finish with the addition of the fennel fronds and cream as directed.
This content is from the book Big Night In.
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