Saturday, January 1, 2011

I'm back and have Salt Crust Roasted Fish to show for it

Oh hey! I’m still alive in case you weren’t sure. I survived my first semester of law school and have been super lazy ever since.

My past couple of weeks have consisted of waking up at 1030am, playing Call of Duty Black Ops, calling my mom and talking about nothing in particular, making dinner for Adam and I regularly (woot!), playing fetch with my BFF Louie, and taking showers at 4pm. It’s been pretty awesome.

You’ll be happy to know that my old cooking skillz have not been entirely pushed out of my brain by contract law and civil procedure, and I am just as enthused about trying new recipes as I was BLS (before law school).  I’m going to try really hard to cook more next semester and will definitely make more of an effort to blog every now and then. I’ve got a long list of recipes to try this year, friends.

One that had been on my list for a long time was Salt Crust Roasted Fish. NYE dinner:





It was pretty impressive coming out of the oven. Basically, you prepare the fish by packing wet salt over it and roasting it at a high heat. The salt makes a crust that must be cracked away from the fish after pulling it out of the oven. Peel the skin off and what’s left is one perfectly roasted, perfectly seasoned and exceptionally moist fish.


I’ve seen this method done on a show once (was it Tyler Florence on Conan?) and found a couple of recipes on epicurious.com that were similar. There are a few variations: some pour straight dry salt over the fish to cover it, some mix salt with egg whites, some mix salt with water. The water-salt method seemed the easiest and least messy so I stuck with that.

If you know me well, you know how much I like salt. And you know we have no less than 4 types of salt in our kitchen. And even with that kind of bias, I PROMISE this dish doesn’t taste overly salty. The skin of the fish tastes a little salty but that gets tossed out (or consumed by the chef when no one is looking).

Happy New Year, everyone.

Salt Crust Roasted Fish
Serves 4
The recipe I’ve posted below uses a cooking time/weight ratio I found on epicurious.com. I added my own herbs. (As you should as well.)

•  2 pounds coarse salt
•  1 cup water
•  a 2-pound whole red snapper (I used Thai red snapper), Branzino or Sea Bass, cleaned, leaving head and tail in tact
•  half a lemon, thinly sliced
•  fresh herbs for stuffing the fish and placing over it, like thyme, parsley, or dill
•  fine-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, add water to the salt a little bit at a time. It should feel like wet snow. If you can pack it into a ball and threaten your husband with it, you’re good.


Sprinkle some of the salt on the bottom of a parchment lined baking pan that is slightly larger than your fish. Place the fish on top. Stuff the fish with slices of lemon and herbs. Place a few sprigs of herbs and lemon on top. Save a few slices of lemon and herbs for garnish.


Pack the salt onto the fish leaving no major holes or gaps. The fish must be completely covered in salt.

Place the fish in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Bang the pan on the oven a few times to loosen the salt crust. Alternatively, you can crack it with the back of a knife (careful not the damage the fish!). If you’re brave, do what I did: carefully grab the parchment paper from beneath the fish and quickly flip the whole thing over on its back. The salt will crack away on its own. Just be careful not to burn yourself (or lose your fish on the floor).

Peel the skin away from the fish with a fork. It should come right off. Transfer the fish to a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with herbs and fresh lemon.


Pack the salt onto the fish leaving no holes or gaps. The fish must be completely covered in salt.

Place the fish in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven. Bang the pan on the counter a few times to loosen the salt crust. Alternatively, you can gently crack it with the back of a knife (careful not the damage the fish!). If you’re brave, do what I did: carefully grab the parchment paper from beneath the fish and quickly flip the whole thing over on its back. The salt will crack away on its own. Just be careful not to burn yourself (or lose your fish on the floor).

Peel the skin away from the fish with a fork. It should come right off. Transfer the fish to a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with herbs and fresh lemon.

7 comments:

El Burto said...

hiii dreee! i havent eaten anything since you last updated this blog, please post again!

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