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Pan-Roasted Arctic Char with Lemon-Dill Butter

Pan-Roasted Arctic Char with Lemon Dill Butter
T. Susan Chang for NPR /

I used Arctic char because it was available and looked good. The crisp skin was especially delicious. Salmon would also work, or any fish with a dense-textured fillet at least 1/2-inch thick. The fish goes nicely with the lemon-dill butter from Fish Without a Doubt (Houghton Mifflin, to be published May 2008). The lemon-dill butter should be made a few hours ahead.

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds Arctic char or other fillets, skin on or off.

Salt and ground white pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil

Slide an empty cast-iron pan large enough to later accommodate the fillets into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Divide the fish into 4 pieces and season to taste. When the oven and the pan are hot, carefully pull the pan out of the oven with heavy mitts and place over high heat on the stove. Add the olive oil and immediately place the fish fillets — skin side up if you've kept the skin on — into the pan. They should sizzle instantly.

Sear for 2 to 3 minutes, until a golden-brown crust begins to form on the bottom side. Flip the fillets over to their other side and immediately slip the entire pan into the oven. Roast for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve immediately with lemon-dill butter.

Lemon-Dill Butter

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Coarse salt, to taste

Combine the butter, dill and lemon zest and juice in a food processor. Process until light and fluffy. Season with salt and pack into a small bowl. Leave the butter at room temperature for about an hour for the flavors to develop.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm.

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