Arctic Char with Snow Peas and Tarragon Butter

American, French

Arctic char is a delicately flavored, delicious fish that sits between salmon and trout. It cooks quickly. The thin skin gets wonderfully crispy and is enjoyable. The snow peas also cook quickly, so the directions have you simultaneously cooking fish and peas. Read through once before cooking to understand the steps and the rhythm of bringing it together quickly. The base for the beurre blanc (tarragon butter) can be made ahead of time. This fancy dish is best served with white rice.
2 6 to 7 ounce portions of Arctic char fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste, plus 1 teaspoon salt for peas
2/3 cup dry white wine
5 black peppercorns
1/4 cup chopped green onions (or shallots)
2 sprigs tarragon, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups (about 1/4 pound) fresh snow peas
1 Lightly season fillets on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside. Place a serving platter in oven and heat to 200°F.

2 Make beurre blanc base: In a small saucepan, combine wine, peppercorns, onion, and tarragon sprigs. Cook over medium-high heat and reduce to 3 tablespoons. Watch carefully - once it starts to reduce, it can evaporate quickly. Strain into bowl, discard solids, then pour back into saucepan and set aside. (You may need to rinse the saucepan if any solids have stuck to it.)

3 Heat a pan of water to boiling for the peas. At the same time, place a skillet, preferably non-stick, that can hold both fish fillets over medium-high heat.

4 Add oil to skillet. When hot, place fish flesh side down in oil and sear until just golden. Flip, lower heat to medium, and continue cooking until just beginning to firm up. Total cooking time is 5-6 minutes, as char cooks quickly.

5 When you flip the fish, add 1 teaspoon salt to the water for the peas, then toss in the peas. Cook 2 minutes. Drain. Spread the peas on the warm platter in the oven.

6 When fish is cooked, place on top of peas in oven.

7 Quickly reheat the reduced wine in the small saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon butter, stirring to melt. Remove from heat and add remaining butter, stirring 1 tablespoon at a time to melt quickly and create a slightly thickened, smooth sauce. Stir in minced tarragon. Spoon beurre blanc sauce over the fish and peas. Serve immediately.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 2 servings

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