Recipe from The Galley

By Miche Genest (Canada C3 chef, Leg 11)

Oven-roasted Arctic Char with Sorrel Sauce and Mushroom Sauté

4 servings

On our first day in Kugluktuk, Leg 11 participants went ashore to hike to Bloody Falls and forage for berries and plants with community members. I stayed behind in the kitchen, trying not to be too envious. As my brand-new friends left I asked them to bring back any wild ingredients they could find for dinner that night. 

The foragers did not disappoint. Brendan Griebel, Susan Gardener and botanist Paul Sokoloff arrived in the kitchen bearing paurngait (mossberries), qijuktaaqpait (Arctic Labrador tea) and, a special treat, qungulit (mountain sorrel). For dinner that night we had oven-roasted Arctic Char with a sauté of crimini and morel mushrooms and one small, tart leaf of qungulit garnishing each piece of fish. For dessert, I stirred mossberries into one of my favourite cake recipes and served the cake with qijuktaaqpait custard and a mixture of paurngait and blueberries sweetened with birch syrup.  

Wild ingredients are not always available, so I’ve suggested some substitutes here and there. Feel free to improvise! 

Arctic Char

4 servings

Cook the char when the sauce and mushroom sauté are already underway. 

4 6-oz (170-gr) filets Arctic Char 

pinch each salt and pepper

2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice

1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Whisk salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil together with a fork and brush mixture over each filet. Cook filets for 7 to 10 minutes; test for doneness by inserting a fork at the thickest part of the filet and twisting—if the fish flakes easily it’s done. 

Remove from oven. Serve on warmed plates on a pool of sorrel sauce, topped by mushroom sauté. 

Garden Sorrel Sauce for Arctic Char

Makes about 2 cups (480 mL).

Sour, tangy and refreshing, garden sorrel sometimes shows up in grocery stores and farmer’s markets but it’s probably easiest just to grow it in your home garden. Then you’ll have a guaranteed source of this delicious green.

1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter

2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped shallot or green onion

2 cups (480 mL) fresh sorrel leaves, finely chopped

½ cup (125 mL) dry vermouth such as Nouilly Prat

1½ cups (350 mL) 35 percent cream 

2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice 

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Stir in sorrel and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Add vermouth, increase heat to medium and cook until vermouth has reduced slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and cream and cook until sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, from 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reserve over low heat until ready to serve. 

Mushroom Sauté for Arctic Char

Use any combination of wild and cultivated mushrooms available at the store or growing wild in your area—taking care to be absolutely certain that any mushroom you pick is edible, of course.  On the Polar Prince I used a combination of fresh crimini and dried, wild morel mushrooms I’d brought from home. 

½ oz (15 gr) dried morel, porcini or other wild mushrooms 

Boiling water

1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter

1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

1 lb (454 mL) fresh mushrooms, sliced 

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp (10 mL) soya sauce

½ cup (125 mL) chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

 Pour boiling water over dried mushrooms and leave to soak until rehydrated, about 20 minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from mushrooms, reserving liquid for other use in stock or sauce, and chop mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. 

 Heat olive oil and butter in a medium cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Once butter has stopped sizzling add dried mushrooms and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then add fresh mushrooms and cook until starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, add soya sauce and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, stir in parsley, taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Reserve in a covered frying pan until ready to serve.