April 14, 2023

Arctic Char With Garlic Scape Pesto

Recipe: Deirdre Buryk

This Arctic char comes from Peak Season by Deirdre Buryk. Appetite by Random House, 2022, $35.

“Roasted garlic scapes with garlic pesto is one of my favorite ways to eat these greens. Serve with fresh Arctic char and you’re set for a delicious meal.” – Deirdre Buryk, Cookbook author of Peak Season, Toronto


Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 8 large garlic scapes, woody bulbs removed, remainder cut into 1⁄2″ pieces
  • 1 cup sorrel (or arugula)
  • 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to season 3⁄4 cup walnut oil (see note at end of recipe)
  • 1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar 1⁄2 cup raw walnuts

Arctic Char

  • 1 Arctic char fillet (approx. 1 lb.) Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper A few sprigs fresh thyme
  • A few sprigs fresh rosemary 4 garlic scapes, fully intact
  • Drizzle good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup raw walnuts, plus more for garnish


Yield: 4

Make Garlic Pesto

  1. Set large pot of water with steam insert over high heat. Let water boil, then add garlic scapes to steamer and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove and rinse in cool water (see note at end of recipe).
  2. Place blanched scapes in food processor and add sorrel and salt.
  3. Process while slowly adding walnut oil, then vinegar. If pesto begins to gather at edges, turn off processor and use rubber spatula to scrape down sides, then continue processing. Once chunky paste has formed, add walnuts. Pulse processor until nuts are completely chopped and coarse paste has formed. A little texture is a good thing here.

Make Arctic Char

  1. Season Arctic char with salt and pepper. Set in refrigerator for minimum of 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place seasoned char on prepared sheet. Scatter thyme and rosemary sprigs, garlic scapes and walnuts around fish. Drizzle lightly with oil. Roast until fish has cooked through and reaches internal temperature of 145°F on instant- read thermometer, about 20 minutes.
  4. Plate fish with herbs and scapes directly from baking sheet, and garnish with walnuts. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with pesto.

Note on walnut oil: If you don’t have walnut oil on hand, a good olive oil for the dressing is your second-best friend.

Note on blanching: I recommend blanching the scapes prior to processing to cut the sharpness of the raw garlic taste while keeping the flavour intact.