Arctic Char with an Asian-Inspired Glaze and Tangy Spinach

When we were in Iceland, one of the things that we ate that hadn’t tried before was arctic char. It is a fish that is similar to salmon or trout, but it has a slightly different texture and taste. Because it is the type of fish that can stand up to bold flavors, we decided to create a soy, sesame, citrus marinade to glaze the char. Ensuring that the skin gets nice and crispy adds to the flavor as well as provides a different textural component to the fish. We served it with fresh baby spinach that we pan-seared in oil and seasoned with crushed red pepper flakes. It was a perfect accompaniment to the glazed arctic char.

Sautéed Spinach with Red Pepper Flakes


  • 1lb Arctic Char – cut into two filets
  • 4 tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 4 tsp Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 lb Fresh Baby Spinach – stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes – more if you’d like more heat
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Soy, Sesame, Citrus Marinade


In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and orange juice until the honey is fully dissolved and the sauce is thoroughly mixed. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper and place them, skin-side up, in a baking dish and pour the marinade over the fish and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes in order to let the fish absorb the flavors. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the baby spinach. Cook the spinach until fully wilted, about 5 minutes, and stir in the red pepper flakes and season generously with salt. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to a cast-iron skillet and heat to medium-high heat. Place the fish in the skillet, skin-side up, and cook for about 4 minutes and it releases easily and the flesh is slightly browned. Flip the fish to skin side down and add the marinade over the fish. Cook the fish for another 5 to 6 minutes and the skin is crisp while continuously basting with the marinade in the skillet using a spoon. To serve, plate the spinach and the place a filet of arctic char on top of the spinach.

Pan-Seared Arctic Char
The Plated Arctic Char with Tangy Spinach

Middle Eastern Spinach Pie

Spinach and cheese pies can be found in a variety of locations, but they are common in the Middle East where they are made as a single serving pie called Fatayer. We made ours as a larger pie that serves about four people. It is quite tasty and while we had it for a main dish, it can also be served as a side dish with a meat such as lamb. We have seen variations of this using Filo dough as well as Feta cheese, but we used puff pastry sheets and a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. It can be made as a Vegan dish with some slight modifications. We cooked down fresh spinach, but it can be done with frozen spinach if you prefer. We found it to be quite delicious.

Melting the Cheese into the Spinach


  •  2 lbs Fresh Baby Spinach – stems removed
  •  2 Medium Shallots – finely diced
  •  2 Garlic Cloves – minced
  •  4 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese – grated
  •  4 oz Mozzarella Cheese – cut into small cubes
  •  1 tsp Dried Dill
  •  1 Pinch of Fresh Nutmeg
  •  2 Sheets of Puff Pastry (cut to fit the baking dish)
  •  1/8 cup Roasted Almonds
  •  1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  •  1 tsp Cumin Powder
  •  1 large Egg – beaten
  •  2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste

Baby Spinach


Toast the coriander seeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. In a spice mixer or blender, combine the almonds, coriander seeds, and cumin and pulse until the ingredients are blended and the almonds are ground into small bits. Don’t grind it to a powder as you will want to have the crunchy texture. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter until the shallots are soft, being sure not to burn the garlic. Add the spinach in batches until it is fully cooked down (you might need to add additional butter). Stir in the dill, nutmeg, as well as salt and pepper. Turn the heat off and let it cool slightly, then add the cheeses and stir until the cheese is fully integrated. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Place a sheet of puff pastry on the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the spinach mixture over the pastry sheet, leaving about an inch border. Place the second puff pastry sheet on top of the spinach and pinch the edges of the top sheet with the edges of the bottom sheet. Brush the edges of the top pastry sheet with the egg wash. Cover the center of the pie with the almond-spice mixture. Cut into individual size pieces and bake in the oven until golden-brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

DSC_3916 (2)
Baked Spinach Pie

Nut and Spice Mixture

Fresh Cheese

Sauté the Shallots and Garlic

Wilt the Spinach

Spinach Mixture on the Pastry Sheet

Ready to Bake

Delicious Dinner


Fettuccine with Pork and Spinach

Needless to say, there are hundreds of restaurants in New York, many of them Italian. Many, if not most, of them serve wonderful food from family recipes that they brought with them from the Old World. During our stay in Manhattan, we came across one of these small, family owned and run, restaurants and stopped there for lunch as we walked the streets of the city. We ended up trying a couple of their daily specials, one ravioli and the other fettuccine. Both of them were wonderful, but we especially liked the fettuccine as it was different than most pasta dishes that we have had. In our attempt to replicate it, we had little to go on other than the picture that we took during our meal, but it turned out to be delicious as well as very simple to prepare. As is often the case, simple dishes with only a few ingredients can often be some of the best.

Fettuccine in New York


  • 1 lb Fresh Fettuccine
  • 1 lb Baby Spinach
  • 1 lb Ground Pork – unseasoned
  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes – more or less depending on how spicy you would like it
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Be sure to use plain ground pork and not a seasoned pork sausage. In a large bowl, combine the pork, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red peppers, salt and pepper and be sure to incorporate the spices throughout the meat. It is best to work the meat and spices with your hands as you would if you were going to make meatballs. Set the pork aside for about 30 minutes to let the seasonings infuse the meat and allow the meat to come to room temperature. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium-high heat. Add the pork, breaking it up into rough bite size chunks as it browns. Sauté the pork until it is fully cooked and slightly browned, about 10 minutes while stirring frequently. Remove the pork, leaving as much of the oil and fat, and set aside on a plate with a paper towel to drain. Add the baby spinach in batches and heat until it is wilted and soft. The spinach will reduce to about 1/4th as it wilts. Once all of the spinach has been cooked, reduce the heat to low and combine the pork and spinach. Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions, being sure to reserve about a cup of the pasta water. In a large bowl, combine the butter and the fettuccine and mix thoroughly until the pasta is coated. Combine the pork, spinach, and pasta water and toss gently together. Divide onto plates and shred the parmesan cheese over top and serve.

Browning the Pork

Wilt the Spinach

Our Version of the Fettuccine with Pork and Spinach