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minimalist way of whole fish baked in sea salt crust

Sea bass baked in Sea salt crust

I have always wanted to bake fish in sea salt but when I see the amount of salt I will need, it seems wasteful but if you think about it, it does not cost much for 1kg of salt, it’s just an illusion.

I have found three recipes, one in my recipe book “Cook with Jamie” , the other two versions from the internet: bon appetit.com and bbc.com

Two of the recipes said you have to mix the salt with egg white which I personally do not like the idea as I believe by covering the fish with salt, the fish should not be dry out anyway. I do not mean to challenge the chefs but when I do really feel it’s a bit wasteful this time with the egg whites. Not only because we are now in economy downturn but also I will the egg whites are rather precious. I am also a bit lazy and like to be a minimalist.  The recipe from bbc.com is extremely easy and proved that it is possible to omit the egg whites.

Nevertheless, the usual me does not like to follow one recipe completely, I like to combine them or make a little tweak to get the best out it. I love the idea of using herbs and spices stuffed to the fish belly, as they can make the fish belly not fishy anymore. Most recipes call for fresh rosemary and/or fresh thyme but by chance I have lots of chinese coriander in the fridge and since those spices are all asian spices, I speculate that the chinese coriander will match also extremely well. Chinese coriander smells much stronger than the normal coriander/ cilantro.

I really like this cooking method, it’s so simple and quick to prepare, retains the freshness and juices of the fish. It is also a fabulous fitness meal !!!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1kg coarse sea salt
  • 400g-500g sea bass (or any whole fish you desire),
  • Bunch of Chinese Coriander
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 4 slices of lemon (for stuffing in fish cavity)
  • 4 lemon wedges (for serving)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/ 400ºF.
  2. Line the baking tray with aluminium foil, layer the bottom of the baking tray with sea salt, about 1cm thick.
  3. Toast the spices: fennel seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns in a small pan for a few minutes until you can smell the fragrance coming out from the spices. Shake the pan to avoid burning.
  4. Let the spices to cool down and then crush them using a pestle and mortar.
  5. Rinse the fish and pat dry and set aside.
  6. Spoon the spices into the fish cavities and then stuff the chinese coriander and lemon slices.
  7. Lay the sea bass on the salt layered baking tray and then cover the fish with sea salt. It is fine if the head and tail are not completely covered.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes. When done, take the baking tray out of the oven, take the tray to the table and let it rest for a few minutes.
  9. To serve, brush as much salt away from the fish and then transfer the fish to a long serving plate. Remove the herbs and spices from the fish belly, discard the skin and bone and serve the flesh on separate plates.
  10. Drizzle a little extra virgin oil and squeeze some lemon juice on the fish.
  11. Suggestion: Serve with a crisp mixed salad and some boiled new potatoes.

Enjoy!

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18 thoughts on “minimalist way of whole fish baked in sea salt crust

  1. I thought of making this too and like you, the thought of the amount of salt wasted makes me think twice about it. You could try ginger – it will take away the smell too. 🙂

    The Cooking Ninja’s last blog post..Beef Madras

  2. Hola Janet! I also agree with you :D. I tried both methods and the white eggs don’t seem to make a difference in the final result! I love this way of cooking fish and meat and the addition of herbs is a fantastic idea always :D. Good job girl and buen provecho!

    Núria’s last blog post..vichyssoise [Flickr]

  3. Maria and Pamela, glad to hear you feel the same like me : ) Now you can feel more comfortable to bake in salt ; 0
    Nuria, glad to hear that you have tried both methods and prove it’s ok to leave the egg white out. I think the only difference is that the crust will be in one piece and not loose. The sea bass skin is pretty intact and not that thin, so the salt did not get into the flesh.

  4. I feel the same too! The amount of salt and egg whites needed is the main reason why I have not tried cooking salt baked stuff. But the sea salt does make a lot of difference.

    What is your email add? I’ll send you my wedding website =)

    Pigpigscorner’s last blog post..My Wedding Day – Part III

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