VIDEO - Baked fish in a salt crust (creative play!)
This may seem a little more adventurous than some of the things we cook on this blog but, in many ways, this dish embodies everything about “My Daddy Cooks” – using fresh ingredients, in extremely fun and creative play, while making a big mess in the process!
“Fish in a salt crust” is one of those “cheffy” sounding dishes which is actually not cheffy at all. It is also a guaranteed way of cooking fish perfectly. The fish (you can choose almost any whole fish) is covered in a mixture of salt, water and eggs and then baked in the oven. The salt hardens to form a crust, enabling the fish to cook absolutely perfectly inside. And because the salt has hardened into a crust, the fish itself is actually surprisingly not salty.
More than anything, it is a huge amount of fun to put together. There is not a little helper around who would not love burying the fish in the piles of the wet salt.
And don’t be put of by price. I always look out for fish on special offer, either at the supermarket or at the fishmonger. I found two large sea-bass at my local supermarket on special offer of buy-one-get-one-free and the two fish I used here only cost £4 in total.
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes
2 x large whole fish, gutted and scaled. I used sea-bass but you can use any flat fish such as sea bream too
1 lemon, cut into thin slices
Two sprigs of rosemary, or any fresh herb you can get your hands on
1.5kg rock salt
1 egg white
A few drops of water
New potatoes and green beans to serve
- Mix together the salt, the egg white and a few drops of water.
- Take a large baking tray and place a thin layer of the salt mix on the base. Put both fish on the salt base, then put a sprig of rosemary and a few lemon slices in the belly cavity of both fishes.
- Lightly oil the top of the fish then cover the fish completely with the remaining salt, patting down gently on the salt to create a nice case.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 35 minutes. It is nearly impossibly to be exact on cooking times as it really will depend on the size of the fish but 35 minutes is a good time to ensure all sizes of fish would be well cooked. Plus it is nearly impossible to overcook fish in this way
- Take the fish out and leave it to stand for about 5 minutes.
- When you are ready to serve, break into the top of the salt crust using a sharp knife. The salt crust should just peel away. It may take some of the skin away too but this is not a problem.
- Gently brush away any flakes of salt which may have chipped off and landed on the fish.
- Using a fork and a spoon, lift off the cooked fish from on top of the back bone and put it on a clean plate. It should just come away from the bone. When all the fish has been removed from the top of the fish, take the backbone off by pulling it gently away from the fish and then lift off the remaining cooked fish from the bottom fillet. Repeat for the other fish.
- Serve the fish immediately. I served it with boiled new potatoes and green beans.