Salt Baked fish
I had this for the first time on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I was completely in awe of the process and delicate flavor and I remember when I came home I couldn't find a recipe for it. This is early google years - we're going wayyyy back. I was a 22 year old assistant buyer at Barneys in New York City and I wanted to make this for my boyfriend at the time. I finally found a recipe a few years later, and I've tweaked over time through trial and error and here it is in all it's glory. There are a lot of salt crusted fish recipes written with an egg white binder, mine is a mix of egg whites and mostly water. I find both work, I just prefer the water mixture as it comes out of the oven a pretty white color instead of brown. I haven't noticed a difference in flavor at all.
Why I love this recipe - simple good ingredients take the stage, it's savory and tender, it's great in the winter or summer, it's not expensive and it's an easy process... it's just a great dish and hope you take a chance and make it.
- 1 white fish - I used Red Snapper, but also have used Bronzino and Trout
- 2 pounds Kosher Salt
- 1 egg white
- 1/3 cup water (mix with egg white above)
- 10 Thyme sprigs, half with leaves stripped
- 5 Rosemary sprigs, half with leaves stripped
- 4 Bay leaves, 1 broken into pieces
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzle
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix salt with water and egg white mixture until it resembles a wet sand. It shouldn’t be wet or drippy, just moist. Mix in the striped leaves of half the herbs and crumbled bay leaf.
Make a little bed of sand with about 1/3 of mixture on parchment paper. Line the mound with the full sprigs of herbs and bay leaves. Place fish on top of herbs and salt mound, then cover with remainder of salt, packing it slightly like when you bury someone in the sand at the beach.
Bake for 35 minutes, then let rest for 5.
Bring to the table so everyone ohhhs and ahhhhs. Then take away to kitchen because the tricky part is the removal.
Crack the top salt crust and toss.
Remove and discard the skin from the top of the fish and, using a fish spatula, watch for bones and carefully transfer the top fillet to a platter. Washed hands work pretty well for this too, if it breaks, don't stress - it still tastes great!
Flip the fish over and repeat. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if needed.