Arctic Char in Phyllo Pastry with Potato and Rutabaga Puree is definitely a play on texture and incredible flavours. The phyllo pastry acts as an incredible pouch that steams the Arctic char beautifully in a pesto infused sauce, and the whole thing rests on a luxurious bed of starchy purée. A perfect supper dish that makes you feel as though you are eating at a posh restaurant, perfect for that romantic dinner.
Song of the day: "The Lucky Ones" by Logan Staats.
Arctic Char in Phyllo Pastry with Potato and Rutabaga Puree, brings the luxuriousness of fine dining right into your home. Its textures and rich flavours will play on your tastebuds bite after luscious bite!
[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]
Arctic char is a fish that I have just come to know recently on a visit to a local fishmonger a few years ago. I was delighted to see when I was at The Italian Centre Shop that they were carrying it also. The beauty of this fish is that it comes from Iceland and resides in the frigid cool waters there, and because of that and thanks to air freight we can enjoy its freshness here in the great white north. It is similar in look to salmon but has a lighter flavour and softer texture. When cooked right it is definitely a heavenly experience, and one I wanted to share with The Italian Centre Shop and you. If you are from Edmonton and you are at the store, you will find it right close to the deli in a refrigerator section there. If you can't find it, ask someone who works there, they are always ready to help and can let you know when it comes in so you are guaranteed freshness. Its vivid color and soft moist texture will convince you to take it home and create this Arctic Char in Phyllo Pastry with Potato and Rutabaga Puree!
One day I was watching Jamie Oliver and he was doing salmon. The interesting thing was that he was cooking it in a puff pastry pouch and to make it even better, he slathered the salmon in a Genovese pesto before layering the pastry on top. I was thinking what a great idea and how moist and tender would that salmon be nestled in that flavour cave all encased in the crispy and light golden crust of the phyllo. This was my inspiration as I looked at that beautiful Arctic char, and was thinking of recipes for the Italian Centre Shop. I immediately thought of Jamie's recipe except I was going to put a little twist on it using that beautiful fish from the Icelandic waters and instead of puff pastry I thought why not phyllo. It is light and crispy and how beautiful would that Arctic char be, nested in those layers upon thin flaky layers of the phyllo sheets. I wanted to elevate this dish adding another element of texture, a more velvety smooth luxurious one at that and thought of rutabaga with its sweet starchiness, and to subdue it a bit with some potato all pureed, yum, who doesn't like mashed potatoes?
All I need to do now is to check my list and make sure I have everything I need and I am ready to leave The Italian Centre Shop and go home to our quaint and cute bustling kitchen and get cooking!
A few things I should mention is that the phyllo pastry is usually sold frozen. If that is the case, a bit of time to unthaw it is good advice. As for that lovely sauce that you are going to slather the Arctic char with, you can find it here, Genovese Basil Pesto. I know a lot of people have this fear that pesto is very complicated and difficult to make. Well, I am going to inform you today that it is so easy and requires very little time. You can make an abundance of it and what you do not use for this recipe can be stored nicely in airtight containers in the freezer for later uses. All you really need is a food processor or blender. If you don't have any of those then you can go old school and use a mortar and pestle which is going to require some arm workout. I love the smell of the basil, Parmigiano, garlic and pine nuts all velvety and colorful due to the sheen of the extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. When shopping for an olive oil, get a good quality D.O.P. oil. This means it is authentic and from the regions that specialize in growing olive trees and producing the most amazing oil.
Pesto's done and fish is ready, let's get this Arctic char ready!
I did not throw out the skin of the Arctic char. I had another light bulb moment and thought why not fry up the skins and add it to the recipe in some way and then I thought crumbled over the dish as a garnish would really create a surprise element of texture. So now let's package up the Arctic char. You have to work quickly and I would also suggest covering the phyllo with a slightly damp cloth as you are working with the sheets. Phyllo dough is so thin and delicate it demands your most gentle touch. I cut the single sheet into four and brushed it with olive oil. I spread the pesto all over the fish and before that I did season with a touch of sea salt and cracked black pepper. I place the phyllo over the pesto laden Arctic char, then folded the phyllo under and turning the fish over folded the pasty creating a nice sealed pouch. I continued to do this until I had quite a few layers and I could imagine all those thin sheets separating and creating that wonderful light airy look. A final brushing of olive oil and onto a parchment lined baking sheet they go.
I wanted to mention that before getting started on the fish, I peeled and roughly chopped up a rutabaga and some yellow potatoes. I put them in a pot, covered them in water and boiled them until they were fork tender. A quick mash with some butter, cream, and seasoning, and our puree is ready. The phylloed Arctic char goes into a hot oven and cooks until golden brown. The plating is quite simple: some puree on the bottom of the dish. The Arctic char in phyllo cut in half and placed delicately on the centre of the plate. For garnish, a crumble of the fried fish skin and a lovely olive oil and lemon dressed mixed green. That's it, it is ready to enjoy, so let's eat!
The smell of that Arctic char is superb. Its richness and flakiness are evident as you see the folds of the fish separating. The juices coming through each fold and the way those layers upon layers of phyllo all golden and crispy encase the lovely fish is amazing. The puree has this sweet and rich starchiness and you know your taste buds are going to play today as there is no shortage of texture to be had.
I love that sound of the crispiness of the phyllo as my fork goes in for the first bite. The flesh of the Arctic char falling apart as I bring my fork into the puree so I can get the full taste and texture experience. Wow, the Arctic char comes in with its bold and rich ocean flavour so moist and tender with some softness to it. The phyllo wakes our mouth up with sounds and vibrations of crispness and just when we think our taste buds are beyond alive in comes this wonderful buttery rich sweet and savoury smoothness of the rutabaga and potato puree with these nice shards of crispy fish skin bursting with flavour. This dish is so luxurious. I am eating nice and slow and savouring every mouthful allowing my tongue and taste buds to process all those flavours and textures.
So you want to have that nice romantic dinner and you don't feel like going out to one of those five-star restaurants, but want to dine at home with the one you love. This dish is perfect. Set the table, be creative. Set the mood for fine dining, break out the fine china and spoil yourselves a bit. Life seems to run at a fast pace, but I guarantee you, when you sit down to this Arctic Char in Phyllo Pastry with Potato and Rutabaga Puree, time will stand still!
Arctic Char is a beautifully succulent fresh and rich flaky fish full of nutrients and amazing flavor. Bake it in a Genovese pesto all wrapped in phyllo pastry and served on a bed of crispy skin and velvety potato rutabaga puree topped with a mixed green simple dressed salad and you have a winner dish packed with diverse textures and amazing vibrant flavors.
- 1 lb fillet Arctic char
- 1 package of store-bought phyllo pastry
- 4 tablespoons evo oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Sea salt and pepper
For Parsnip Potato Puree:
- 1 large parsnip
- 2 medium yellow potatoes
- 1 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup half & half cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
For Genovese Pesto:
- 50 g fresh basil leaves
- 2 small garlic cloves peeled
- 30 g (6 Tbsp) Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 13 g (2 Tbsp) Pecorino Romano grated
- 11 g (1 Tbsp) Pine nuts
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 80 ml evo oil
- 1 cup mixed greens
- ½ tbsp evo oil
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Thaw phyllo pastry at room temperature.
For Genovese Pesto:
- Gently wash and dry the basil leaves.
- In a food processor add all the ingredients leaving the olive oil for last.
- Pulse 4-5 times, then start slowly pouring in the olive oil as you pulse until mixture becomes smooth and well incorporated. You may have to use the spatula to clean off the sides of the processor bringing the mixture back into the middle. This is done with the machine turned off.
For Parsnip Potato Puree:
- Peel the parsnip and potatoes and rinse and cut into quarters.
- In a medium saucepan ¾ full with water and toss in potatoes and parsnips. Place on stove top on medium to high heat and bring to a boil.
- Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until fork tender, mash the mixture with a potato masher, add butter salt and pepper, and add the half & Half a little at a time until a nice smooth velvety consistency is achieved.
Now for the Arctic Char:
- Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Take the Arctic Char and divide into 4 equal pieces, and remove the skin (keep the skin for later use).
- Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.
- Melt butter and add to olive oil and mix.
- Place a nice spoonful of pesto on top of each piece of Arctic Char and spread it evenly over the top and sides.
- Cut filo pastry sheets in half. Take one sheet and place on a baking sheet and brush with butter and olive oil mixture.
- Place over Arctic char and fold into the bottom and sides creating a nice little parcel. Do this another 4 times until you have 5 layers of filo over fish, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do this process for the other three pieces of Arctic Char.
- Place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes turning the oven to broil for the last 2 minutes until the top turns a nice golden brown.
- While the fish is baking in a sauté pan drizzle in some olive oil and fry up the Arctic Char Skin on high heat until crisp 1 minute a side.
- In a bowl toss mixed greens with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Spoon a nice dollop of the parsnip potato puree into a plate and spread evenly into a circle.
- Place crispy skin onto center of puree, and place Arctic Char filo pouch on top of crispy skin.
- Place a nice bunch of the mixed green salad on top and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley, and it's ready to serve.
- This method of cooking you can do for any type of fish you choose, but I highly recommend the Arctic char.
- For garnishing, fry up the fish skin and place on a paper towel then crumble over fish and puree.
- Place a slightly damp cloth over thawed phyllo pastry as this will keep them moist and prevent them from drying and cracking.
- Category: Main, Fish
- Method: Baking