Texture is what keeps my palette excited. I’m always chasing the perfect bite, something that is salty, creamy, and crunchy, and that ends on a bright, acidic note. For this dish, we slow-poach Arctic char in bacon fat so it maintains a silky, almost sushi-like quality, which balances the texture of a raw salad. The onion puree adds an earthy creaminess. It’s really perfect surf and turf: The char (the sea) really shines, and the bacon (the mountains) acts like a flavor backbone, infusing salty rich flavor into the char and the salad and bringing the dish together. If char is too expensive, unavailable, or just not looking delicious, the recipe works just as well with salmon or trout.
To Render the Bacon Fat
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat; working in batches, add the bacon to the pan and cook until the fat is
For the Onion Puree
Return the skillet to the stove and heat 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about another minute or so. While still hot, transfer to a food processor or blender and
For the Char
While the bacon fat is still warm (or reheat 1 cup
Poach the fillets in the fat for 20 minutes. If the fish is not completely covered by the bacon fat, turn the fillets after 10 minutes. After 20 minutes, the fish should be a perfect medium rare.
Transfer to a towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat this process to poach the remaining fillets. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and save the remaining fat for another use or discard.
For the Vinaigrette
In a small saucepan, bring the red wine to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced to a syrupy consistency, 15 to 20 minutes. Give the syrup a taste to make sure all the alcohol has cooked off. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and the reserved 2 tablespoons bacon fat and whisk to combine.
For the Salad
Spoon the onion puree onto 4 plates and top each with an arctic char fillet. Top with the salad and drizzle both the fish and salad with vinaigrette.