SALT-CRUSTED BAKED SEABASS
Any fish can be cooked whole in salt. We use seabass, but whole salmon is just as divine.
BY JAN HENDRIK VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
- 1½ kg whole seabass, cleaned
- 4 lemons, sliced
- 4 bay leaves
- A bunch of fennel fronds or dill
- 2-3kg coarse salt
- 2 to 3 egg whites
- Preheat your oven to 200C.
- Wash and dry the fish well.
- Stuff the cavity with the lemon and herbs.
- Mix the salt with the egg whites until a paste forms.
- Add more egg white if the texture it too dry.
- Pack a layer of salt for the fish to sit on, about 1cm deep.
- Place the fish on the salt and pour the rest of the salt over and around the fish so most is covered. It is OK for the head and tail to be visible.
- Place the fish in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then remove it and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.
It can be quite nerve-racking to try and to guess if the fish is cooked – but a meat probe inserted into the flesh will tell you the internal temperature if you are worried. You can also insert a metal skewer and feel if it is hot (or not). The fish will continue to cook during the resting time.
To serve, crack the salt and pull it away from the fish – it should take the skin with it. The fish can be served whole or the flesh removed to a serving platter.