Broiled Lemon-Honey Arctic Char with Citrus Sauce

January 11, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Sauce adapted from a favorite Sally Schneider recipe in A New Way to Cook.

Arctic Char is mild and delicious. It's thin, so it cooks quickly. The trick I've found to getting the flesh to caramelize without overcooking is to get the fish closer to the heat source—I use a turned over sheet pan set on a rack 4 inches from the heat source to bring my broiling pan to a distance of three inches from the heat source.

The sauce: It’s nice to use a mix of citrus. I love using Cara Cara oranges for their sweet flavor and pretty hue, but it’s nice to include more acidic varieties of citrus, too, such as other navel oranges, nectarines, or blood oranges.

Portion size: I know 3 ounces a portion sounds kind of wimpy, but I think this is probably what we should be striving for more. Be sure to serve some bread or a grain salad or lots of vegetables on the side.

Alexandra Stafford

Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 5 min


  • 4 small oranges, a mix is nice (I've been using Cara Cara and tangerines)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 3- to 4-ounce fillets Arctic Char
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 pinch flaky sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
In This Recipe


  1. Position a rack 3 inches from the broiler. (Note: I can position a rack only 4 inches from the broiler. To get the pan 3 inches from the heat source, I turn over a rimmed sheet pan and set it on the rack—I do this when the fish is ready to be broiled.) Preheat the broiler to high.
  2. If you know how to supreme citrus fruit, do that, squeezing and reserving any juice left in the rinds, then skip to step 2. Otherwise: Slice off the ends of each orange and the lemon. Squeeze the juice out of those ends into a medium bowl. Discard the rind. (It’s handy to have a garbage bowl nearby for this step.) Stand each piece of fruit on one of its cut sides. Run a knife down the side of each orange and the lemon to remove the skin. Squeeze the juice out of those skins into the bowl, then discard. Remove each citrus segment by running a knife down the side of each membrane and slicing the segment out. Drop it into the bowl of juice. Once all of the segments are removed, squeeze the remaining membranes into the bowl to extract the juice. You should be left with a bowl of beautiful segments swimming in a lot of juice. (If this doesn't make sense, Youtube it.)
  3. Pour one tablespoon of the juice from the bowl of citrus segments into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Whisk to combine. Add the fillets of arctic char and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into the bowl with the citrus segments. Add the chives and a big pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine. Taste. It should taste similar to a salad dressing with perhaps less of a bite. It should not be emulsified.
  5. Rub a sizzle pan or sheet pan or broiler pan lightly with neutral oil. Remove fillets from marinade, letting excess drip off—no need to pat dry. Discard excess marinade. Place the char fillets skin side down in the pan. Season the flesh with salt (and pepper, if you wish) to taste. Place a sheet pan upside down on the rack (see why, if you've forgotten, in step 1), then place the pan with the fillets in it on top. Broil 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and immediately transfer fillets to a serving platter. Spoon sauce over top. Pass extra sauce on the side.

More Great Recipes:
American|Chive|Fruit|Honey|Lemon|Seafood|Broil|Sheet Pan|Winter|Entree

Reviews (8) Questions (2)

8 Reviews

msmely January 25, 2018
This recipe does depend on portioning out the salt to your liking, but otherwise it was a hit. I served it with some quinoa, cucumber, and celery, dressed with leftover citrus juice, sami tamimi's seeds from plenty more and a good amount of chopped mint. I enjoyed the simplicity that let every ingredient shine. <br /><br />I ended up using salmon filets (char was $$$) and broiled a bit longer to obtain a 145F internal temperature. Loved the surface caramelization. I used the fact that citrus is in season to up my citrus variety, including a pomelo, a tangerine, a blood orange, a sour orange (instead of lemon), and a cara cara orange. If I'd have been thinking I'd have zested the oranges first and set the zest aside for another use. <br /><br />I found it hard to figure out vegetables to pair with this that wouldn't steal the show from the citrus. I bet it'd be delightful with fennel, lettuce, carrots, jicama, or anything else crunchy and mild.
Stephanie B. February 1, 2017
Couldn't find Char either, so I used Swai. This was amazing, loved the citrus sauce-so fresh, so yummy. Served the fish over a quinoa, grated brussel sprout and daikon salad. Took a little bit of the citrus juice to make a miso-ginger dressing for the quinoa salad.
Author Comment
Alexandra S. February 2, 2017
So happy to hear this, Steph! Love your creative use of the citrus sauce to make the dressing for the salad, which sounds delicious.
Nanners January 24, 2017
I could not find Arctic Char so I used salmon instead. Was not disappointed as the taste was great. The citrus sauce is fantastic; a definite keeper. Thanks for sharing.
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 24, 2017
So happy to hear this, Nanners. Thanks for writing in!
LCT January 20, 2017
Arctic char is hard to come by in my area- is there another fish that works well with this recipe?
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 20, 2017
I would try trout (in which case follow the cooking instructions exactly) or salmon (in which case, just broil it without the sheet pan trick noted in the recipe). Someone commented somewhere that they made this with halibut and loved it.
yiayia January 14, 2017
Arctic Char is a wonderful fish--more delicate (and less expensive) than salmon but still flavorful. Your dish is so lovely and such a fresh , colorful presentation, especially for a winter's day, but I can imagine lovely in any season. Although, you are likely correct about portion size, I find 6-8 ounce portions for a party, anyway, to be about right, especially if you don't want to make a lot of side dishes. Thank you!