All or Nunavut

Canada's latest seafood export hits all the right notes

New! Sustainable! Rare! Chefs love to tout these buzzwords on their menus, which is why they've taken to the latest finned import from our neighbors up north: Nunavut char.

While most arctic char we encounter here is farmed in Iceland, Nunavut char–which has buttery, cantaloupe-colored flesh similar to salmon–is caught in the wild by an Inuit community in Canada's Nunavut (noon-ah-voot) Territory, where bears outnumber people two to one.

It's sustainable, too: In the later summer months, when the weather is warm enough for fishermen to break through the ice, they use an ancient type of trap called a weir to catch the fish.

But the real draw is the Nunavut char's scarcity. Given its remote source and short growing season, supply is sporadic–which makes it all the more alluring. Seafood-forward restaurants like Le Bernardin, Esca and The Mermaid Inn in New York have offered it as a special, and it's a favorite at BlackSalt in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco's Waterbar, where chef Justin Baade has created a four-course Nunavut tasting menu ($125).

If you'd rather cook some yourself, visit sustainable fish middleman CleanFish's website to find retailers, or call Maine-based distributor Browne Trading to place a phone order ($17.25 a pound; 800-944-7848).

Get it now–the season ends soon!