Brook Trout (‘Saltwater Charr’)

Salvelinus fontinalis

Brook Trout (‘Saltwater Charr’)
Species

Salmon,Trout & Charr

Description

Native to the east coast of North America, where it’s also called Speckled Trout, Brook Trout is actually a Charr, distinguished from Salmon and Trout by brighter colouring and distinctive white edges to the lower fins. It has a larger mouth than Rainbow or Brown Trouts and light pinkish-red spots over a darker body.

It was introduced to Tasmania in the early 1900s and self-sustaining freshwater populations are found there in Clarence Lagoon and the lakes of the Tyndall Ranges, while hatchery-reared fish are used to maintain populations in Lake Jindabyne (NSW) and a few streams and lakes in SA.

Since around 2005 it has been farmed on a small scale in sea cages in Macquarie Harbour in southwestern Tasmania and marketed as ‘Saltwater Charr’.

Other Names

Saltwater Charr, Speckled Trout, Squaretail Trout.

Family

Salmonidae (Salmons).

Season

Sea-cage-reared fish are available from November – February; wild stocks are only caught recreationally and are subject to seasonal closures over winter in some states.

Size and Weight

In Australia it reaches a maximum size of 6.5kg and 85cm.

Price

High-priced.

Relations

Salmons (such as Atlantic and Chinook, marketed as ‘King Salmon’ in Australia); Trouts (including Rainbow and Brown Trouts).

To Buy

Sea-reared fish is sold as ‘Saltwater Charr’ in fillets, steaks and cutlets. Look for orange, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh smell; always buy sashimi-grade fish if serving it raw or rare.

To Store

Wrap fillets, cutlets and steaks in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook

Saltwater farmed fish has the reddest flesh of all farmed Salmonids in Australia, it is firm with a high oil content and mild, buttery flavour.

In wild stock, flesh colour ranges from white to orange depending on diet. In saltwater-reared fish, the centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity.

Score whole fish at the thickest part of the flesh, and cut thick fillets into serving-size portions, to allow even heat penetration. Both freshwater-, and saltwater-, reared fish can be served hot or cold.

Cooking Methods

Steam, poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. Flesh has good gelling characteristics and works well in mousseline or minced for fish cakes and fish balls.

The firm flesh of saltwater-reared fish holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs. It is ideal served rare.

Goes Well With

Almonds, bitter and peppery greens (endive, radicchio, rocket, watercress), butter, capsicum, citrus, curries (especially Thai-style red curry), English spinach, garlic, mayonnaise, olives, pasta, sorrel, vinegar, wine (red and white).

Alternatives

Salmons, Trouts, Yellowtail Kingfish.

Imports

None.

Recipes

‘Freshwater Trout’
Whole Rainbow Trout with Orange, Maple Syrup & Macadamia Nuts
Whole Rainbow Trout with Date Stuffing
Smoked Trout & Cracked Wheat Salad
Kedgeree

'Saltwater Charr'
Char-grilled Fish Kebabs
Char-Grilled Salmon Kebabs & Vegetables with Lime Mayo
Fish Satay
Gravlax
Lemony Seafood Crêpes
Mixed Thin & Thick Sushi Rolls (Norimaki)
Salmon Scotch Eggs
Sashimi Salmon Salad
Seafood Pie with Leek, Garlic & Chives
Seafood Teppanyaki
Whole Poached Salmon with Cucumber Salad

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