How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Monger Simplicity

"What's char?" I asked, as I noticed something new in the Kyler's Catch fish counter. The young fishmonger's eyes lit up: "Delicious!" and "I'm not quite sure." She had been asking her manager about it, and could only recall that it is some sort of "cross" between a salmon and a trout. That did not sound quite right to her as she said it, but it seems to be not far from the truth. She could tell me that she had been enjoying a lot of it lately, and that customers to whom she had recommended it had come back happy.
Image: Fish Choice
As she handed me the wrapped fish, I asked how she prepares it. She said that the flavor is so good that she just uses a little salt and pepper. She said perhaps some minced garlic as well, but I decided to try the simplest option first. I even eschewed Old Bay, which I'm usually tempted to sprinkle on everything. I pan-fried the fillet in olive oil, skin-side down until mostly cooked through, and then turning it. The fish is quite delicate, and flaked apart somewhat as I did this.

Last night I looked up char on my phone, learning just enough to confirm that the monger's impression about the fish is generally correct. This morning I took a closer look online and found that Fish Choice describes char as "closely resembl[ing] salmon in appearance, but are closer genetically to lake trout." I also learned that its high fat content means that it is well-suited to broiling, baking, or smoking. I will be exploring these options in the near future.

I will also be exploring the Fish Choice web site, whose goals are similar to the Cod & Country cookbook we have cited on this blog several times. It is intended for the fish industry but is accessible to general readers, providing a good combination of ecological and culinary information.

For a simple, quick evening meal, this basic char was perfectly paired with some Aunt Annie's mac & cheese (made with cream instead of milk) and a nice bottle of, you guessed it, Malbec.

Finally, a word about fishmongers. We enjoy supporting local businesses whenever we can, especially those such as Kyler's that are mentoring young workers who take pride in learning their industry.

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