Arctic Char with Vietnamese Cucumber Salad and Japanese Rice

We read about a wild salmon entree featured in “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes” by David Tanis, served with a Vietnamese cucumber relish. It sounded fresh and simple, and we planned to adhere to the recipe as it was designed. We changed our plan when we realized that our local grocer was offering fresh Arctic Char for half the price of fresh Alaskan Salmon.

Arctic Char is a member of the trout and salmon family, and it looks a lot like salmon, but has a milder flavor, more similar to trout than salmon. We knew both of our sons would enjoy it, so we adapted the recipe to work for our taste buds and our wallet.

Arctic Char with Vietnamese Cucumber Salad and Japanese Rice

This baked fish and fresh cucumber salad from “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes” by David Tanis demonstrates that good ingredients, simply prepared, can produce exquisite meals.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: dairy-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, Whole Life Challenge
Servings: 6
Calories: 289kcal
Author: planfulcook


Arctic Char

  • 2 lb Arctic Char approx 2 sides
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • lime wedges
  • mint sprigs

Vietnamese Cucumbers

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • Vietnamese Fish Sauce
  • 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and minced
  • 1 Serrano pepper seeded and minced
  • 1-2 limes
  • 2-3 green onions sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar optional


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this helps keep the fish from sticking to the pan) and put the fish on top, skin side down. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle olive oil over the top, and gently rub it into the fish.
  • Back the fish for 20 to 25 minutes; if you open the fillet with a fork in the thickest part, it should be cooked through but moist. Transfer it to a warm platter and allow it to rest a few minutes before serving.
  • Prepare the cucumbers: peel and cut them lengthwise before cutting into 1/2 inch half moons. Place them in a medium bowl.
  • Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and then sprinkle with fish sauce. Add the fresh minced ginger, and optionally, the coconut sugar. Toss and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Add the minced Serrano peppers and squeeze lime juice over the top. Garnish with the green onions and serve alongside the baked fish, with a scoop of rice. Enjoy!


You can purchase gluten-free Thai fish sauce if you’re avoiding wheat. It has a very strong flavor, and our boys didn’t like it in the cucumber salad. Adding a tablespoon of coconut sugar can help soften the flavor profile. Next time we make this dish, we’ll use coconut aminos which is also gluten-free and adds a sweet flavor as well. 

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