whole fish baked in sea salt crust

My sister has this thing against fish — both the dead variety and the living. Every time we vacation near the beach and go for a dip in the ocean, she frantically screams when feeling small fish swimming between her legs and immediately jumps out of the water. Snorkeling is definitely not her thing, neither is fishing. She’ll probably never even open this post given the featured photo of a fish. You’d think that dead fish would be fine, but since she figured out at the age of five that fish sticks were truly made out of real fish, she’s never touched fish again. It’s alright to have phobias — I’m scared to death of spiders and anything else that is creepy and crawls — so my dear Michelle, please don’t think I’m making fun of you! You just don’t know what you’re missing out on…especially when it comes to whole fish baked in a sea salt crust.

sea salt sea bream

I spent months searching for the perfect whole fish baked in sea salt crust recipe, only to find that it was there all along — on the back of a 1kg box of coarse sea salt sold at the local supermarket chain. Since then, I’ve tweaked the original recipe to come up with my own filling that renders the fish so soft, savory and juicy.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/390°F before you start even chopping your ingredients so that the oven is smoking hot when you put in your fish. For this recipe, you must buy whole fish, either bream, sea bass or snapper, and must wash it and dry it inside out before seasoning it. You can use a wide variety or herbs to season the cavity — tarragon, parsley, dill, thyme — but this time I chose to use only coriander. Feel free to use your favorite herbs, or follow my recipe that calls for sliced lemon and garlic as well.

sea bream 2 sea bream in sea salt crust

When you season your fish, make sure to use only pepper and no salt, if not you will end up eating a very salty fish. This recipe calls for a huge amount of sea salt for just one fish (2 kg of it to be exact). Baking whole fish in a sea salt crust seals in all the flavors and softens your fish while bringing it all the salt it needs to be savory.

The trick to making the perfect crust is to add egg whites and a bit of water to the sea salt to moisten it and render it easy enough to mold. Line a baking sheet with foil paper and place a thick layer of the sea salt mixture and lay your fish on top. Next, you’ll have to thoroughly cover your fish with the remaining sea salt, making sure that you don’t miss any spots. Seal the fish into the sea salt, bake for 35-45 minutes and voilà!

Serve this fish with a Mediterranean-inspired side dish, such as this sautéed zucchini with dried basil and almonds.

sea bream cooked in sea salt crust One month ago: peanut butter cookies stuffed with nutella

whole fish baked in sea salt crust
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 whole fish (bream, sea bass or snapper), washed and dried inside out
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 4.4 pounds (2kg) coarse sea salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • ⅓ (1dl) cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F.
  2. Season the fish cavity with pepper and stuff with lemon slices, garlic slices and coriander.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the sea salt with the egg whites and water and mix well to moisten the salt.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cover the foil with half of the sea salt mixture and place the fish on top. Cover the fish with the rest of the sea salt mixture, pressing on the sides to seal.
  5. Cook the fish for 35 to 45 minutes in the oven, until the sea salt mixture turns into a crust and appears golden.
  6. Remove the fish from the oven. Carefully break the sea salt crust with a sharp knife, remove the fish and all the salt, and divide flesh among two plates. Serve with sliced lemons and a drizzle of olive oil.
Notes
TIP: You can double or triple the recipe depending on how many fish you are cooking

 

How did your whole fish baked in sea salt crust come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania

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