I’ve just returned from this year’s Cooking for Solutions  event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I have been on the board of this event since its inception because I believe it is important we all educate ourselves in making sustainable seafood choices and help preserve our oceans.

This year, my recipes at the event focused on Arctic Char, a fish that resembles salmon in taste, but also has some of the same flavors as trout. Arctic char is also known as Alpine Char, or you may find it on a sushi menu labeled as Iwana. Arctic char is both a fresh and saltwater fish that is available wild only for a few months in the fall. Farmed arctic char is available year-round, and since the farms are land-based, closed-circle farming systems that treat their wastewater, Seafood Watch ranks this fish as a “Best Choice”.


Here is a recipe I made at this year’s Cooking for Solutions event. Give Arctic Char a try- and let me know what you think!


Serves 4

The kale pesto is more than you’ll need for this recipe. It keeps very well so try it the next day withpasta!IMG_0960

8 thin slices prosciutto
Four 5 ounce arctic char fillets, about 3/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Kale pesto (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 cup each dry white wine and fish or chicken stock
2 tablespoons soft butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay two slices of prosciutto side by side on a flat surface. Put one piece of arctic char crosswise on the prosciutto and season lightly with salt and pepper. Generously coat the top side of the fish with the pesto and wrap the prosciutto securely around the fish. Repeat with remaining fish.
Add olive oil to a skillet large enough to hold fish in one layer and heat over medium high heat. Lightly brown the wrapped fish on both sides. Place pan into the preheated oven and cook another 4 minutes or until the fish is just done. Remove the fish to warm plates.

Add the shallots to the pan and cook until softened but not brown, about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the liquid until it becomes syrupy and then whisk in the butter. Season to taste, pour over the fish and serve immediately.

Kale pesto
Makes 2 cups

4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 quart chopped kale (Lacinato preferred), any tough center ribs discarded
2/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, blanched almonds or walnuts
1 cup or so extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the garlic and allow it to simmer for a minute. Add kale, bring the water back to the boil, stirring it a few times until kale softens, about 2 minutes.

Drain the kale and garlic and immediately plunge into cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the kale’s green color. Drain again when cool. Remove garlic, peel and set aside. Squeeze the kale with your hands to remove as much of the water as possible.

Add the garlic, kale and remainder of ingredients to a food processor. Process until mixture is pureed to your liking. It should have a little texture. You may want to add more olive oil to reach desired consistency.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.