Choosing Char

If you are avoiding farmed salmon for health considerations and fully understand the pressure that remains on precious schools of salmon in the wild, you might well choose to consider a tasty sushi alternative with Char.  A close relative of both trout and salmon, Char’s been seen with more frequency on U.S. sushi menus in the past several years and from both a culinary and ecological perspective it offers an appealing alternative. 

Known as Iwana in Japanese, Char sports a delicate red flesh with a firm texture that makes it a toothsome and sustainable alternative to salmon in most culinary conceits. A cold water fish inhabiting fresh and saltwater areas of the far north, Char is occasionaly wild-caught but mostly farmed in Iceland or Canada through aquacultural practices that, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, are environmentally responsible.

When buying Char its wise to keep in mind that the color of its flesh can vary wildly depending on whether it has been farmed of culled from the wild, and even from one aqua-farm to another, colors can vary significantly. Attention to color pertains to all fish species as what they eat and how vigorous they were during their lifetime obviously effects the color and flavor of their flesh. Deeper darker ruby tones in the flesh are often indicative of richer flavor and more active lives.