The Acadian Peninsula is among the greatest places in the world to enjoy sea food. So when Sonia Jalbert, owner of Le Nouvo Caveau in Paquetville, set out to make a recipe with local maple syrup, combining it with fish seemed an obvious choice. But she added a twist.
While Grand Anse to Lamèque can boast about an ongoing, vibrant fishery, and long traditions with seafood, it is also home to exciting and innovative aquaculture. In this case — arctic char. Arctic char are the northern-most fresh water fish in the world, and a close relative to salmon and lake trout. They are now also home to Bas-Caraquet, at the Pisciculture Acadienne.
“In my opinion, it’s one of the best fish you can have in production, in our region,” said Jalbert.
Using high-quality, locally produced, completely fresh fish is just part of the reality for a restaurant in Paquetville. It’s something that often surprises the chefs that Jalbert hires from Quebec, who are used to several days between taking the fish out of water, and getting it into their hands, in Montreal or Quebec City.
“In our region, you can fish it and have it on the plate the same day,” Jalbert said.
Combining this treasure from the sea with our provincial treasure from the trees just makes sense. For many years, Le Nouvo Caveau has chosen Sucrerie Chiasson’s amber maple syrup from Paquetville, NB. Its sweetness pairs very well with all kinds of local fish.
“Paquetville is the heart of maple syrup in the Acadian Penninsula,” she said.
Sonia also recommends pairing the meal with another locally produced, maple-inspired, product — the Grand Vicaire Paquet, a maple cream ale from Distillerie Fils du Roy in Petit Paquetville. And for wine drinkers, she recommends any new world chardonnay, aged in American oak barrels, to match the maple notes of the meal with the smoky and toasty flavors of the American oak.
And don’t worry if you can’t find arctic char in your corner of the world, Jalbert says substituting it with Salmon or Trout makes for a delicious meal as well.
Give the recipe a try, and let us know what you think!
(For 2 people)
- 2 fillets of Arctic Char (or pinkish flesh fish) of about 150g
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
- 1⁄4 cup of slivered almonds
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
- a small handful of chopped fresh parsley
- chopped fresh parsley
- Cook the fish over medium-high heat for 3 minutes in the oil on the skin side.
- Turn the fish over for 15 seconds on the flesh and set aside on a plate.
- Deglaze the pan with a spoonful of butter to make the sauce.
- Add the almonds in the foaming butter and leave to brown for 30 seconds.
- Pour the lemon juice and the maple.
- Stir well adding the fresh parsley and let caramelize 15 seconds.
- Serve the fish skin-side down and spread the sauce on the skin.
- Can be served with trout, salmon or cod.
For the local touch, we opted for the Arctic char from the PiscicultureAcadienne de Bas-Caraquet.
Wine pairing: New World Chardonnay aged in American oak barrels.
Sonia Jalbert, owner of Le Nouvo Caveau
Sonia Jalbert comes from a family of restaurant owners, with her parents celebrating the 35th anniversary of La Crêpe Bretonne this year. After running Le Nouvo Caveau in Paquetville for 9 years, she has decided to close this chapter and focus on her passion, and training, as a sommelier. Follow her on social media for lots more food and wine content.
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