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Whole Fish Roasted in a Sal t Crust Recipe

The Salt Crust:

  • 675 grams kosher salt
  • 6 to 8 egg whites

The Fish:

  • 1 whole fish such as branzino (about 450 grams), cleaned and scaled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, for the crust
  • Lemon juice

Preparation:

For the Salt Crust:

  1. Mix the salt and egg whites until they reach the consistency of wet sand.

To Cook the Fish:

  1. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Season the cavity, and place the rosemary inside it. Line with the lemon slices. Rub the fish with oil.
  2. Place the fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Completely cover the fish in the salt crust.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the center of a 375°F (191°C) oven and roast for 25 minutes. The crust should be a light golden brown. Let the fish rest in the crust on the baking sheet at room temperature for up to 1 hour before serving; it will remain warm.

To Serve:

  1. Cut around the circumference of the crust and remove the top.
  2. Skin and remove the top fillet and place it on a serving plate. Remove and discard the bone.
  3. Skin and remove the bottom fillet to a plate. Whisk together a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, using twice as much oil as lemon. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the fish drizzled with the sauce.

Chef's Notes: The smallest-sized fish that can be cooked this way is 450 grams. Smaller fish will overcook before the crust bakes through entirely.