I have heard of salting fish for preservation purposes. I’ve seasoned seafood with salt for extra flavour. And I’m aware that baking fish on slabs of salt in the oven is the latest hip thing. But, never have I heard of salt crusted fish…well…until yesterday, when my partner told me about a recipe he had come across. I was in disbelief when he told me that the recipe called for 6 cups of sea salt! How could the fish be good with that much sea salt on it? I decided that for today’s blog post, it was imperative that I research this method of fish preparation.
This method of preparing fish is not so much used as a way of flavouring or preserving the fish, but rather serves as a way to encapsulate the flavours while cooking. Creating a salt crust around the fish traps flavour and keeps moisture in. Here is a salt crust seafood recipe gleaned and modified from the Saveur website.
- Using a mix of citrus and herbs, stuff the cavity of the fish, being careful not to overfill it. This will both restore the fish to its natural shape and give it a rich flavor.
- Enclosing the fish in a crust of salt ensures that it will cook evenly and remain moist, and leaves it perfectly seasoned. To make the crust, separate 8 egg whites into a large bowl and whisk in coarse salt. Make a bed of salt slightly larger than the fish in a lined sheet pan and lay the fish upon it.
- Pat more salt around the top and sides to enclose the fish.
- Baking the fish turns the salt crust light brown and hardens it.
- Removing the crust is simple at this point: Gently insert a knife along the edge of the crust, about midway between top and bottom, cut around the perimeter of the fish, and pry off the crust in one or two pieces.
- Peel off the skin and lifted the flesh from the bones.
- The colorful herb and fruit stuffing is exposed, and the fish is ready to be served-and savored.