Arctic Char with Tahini Sauce, Nuts, and Herbs


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 127

A trio of toppings—a lemony sesame seed sauce, a chunky nut-and-herb “pesto,” and sweet-tart pomegranate—boost the flavor and appearance of simple seared Arctic char, a fish from the same family as trout and salmon. You can chop the nuts and herbs in a food processor to save time, but process them separately so that the herbs won’t get bruised and mushy. I like serving this dish with a roasted carrot salad.

For the tahini sauce
  • 6 Tbs. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
For the nut-herb topping
  • 1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the fish
  • 1 Tbs. virgin coconut oil
  • 4 6-oz. skin-on Arctic char fillets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tsp. pomegranate molasses
Make the tahini sauce

Process the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 5 Tbs. water in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Make the nut-herb topping

In a medium bowl, gently toss the almonds, walnuts, cilantro, onion, olive oil, parsley, mint, and pepper flakes with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Cook the fish

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. Put the fish in the skillet flesh side down and cook, undisturbed, until golden, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until barely opaque in the center (use a paring knife to check), about 1 minute more.

Transfer the fish skin side down to a serving plate. Spread the tahini sauce over the top of the fillets, then sprinkle with the nut-herb topping and the pomegranate seeds. Drizzle 1/2 tsp. of the pomegranate molasses over each, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 570, Fat (kcal): 38, Fat Calories (g): 340, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 44, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13, Carbohydrates (mg): 13, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 10, Sodium (g): 520, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 3,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I really enjoyed this. I couldn't find any arctic char (apparently it's hard to get around my area…I checked 3 different stores!), so I used atlantic salmon instead. It was great. Very filling. I served with steamed cardamom carrots. Delicious. I'll definitely be making again!

I was amazed by the results. Dressing the fish with nuts and fruits and herbs with color is fantastic.The flavors and textures were so vibrant.

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