Choosing Char

If you are avoiding Tuna for sustainability considerations you might well choose to consider this tasty sushi alternative. 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. A cold water fish inhabiting fresh and saltwater areas of the far north, it is occasionaly wild-caught but for the most part is farmed in Iceland or Canada through aquacultural practices that, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, are environmentally responsible.

Known as Iwana in Japanese, Char sports a delicate red flesh with a firm texture that makes it a toothsome and sustainable alternative to both tuna and salmon in most culinary conceits.

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 or culled from the wild. There is even variance from one aqua-farm to another, so the colors can vary significantly.

Being attentive to the color of a fish is a good practice in general as precisely what it eats and how vigorous a fish was during its lifetime will dramatically change the color and flavor of its flesh. Deeper darker ruby red tones in fish flesh is often indicative of a more active life and a correspondingly richer flavor.