Whole Roasted Fish in a Salt Crust

Whole Roasted Fish in a Salt Crust

Roasting a whole large fish in a salt crust might seem scary, but it’s actually quite simple. It’s just a matter of placing the fish on top of a bed of salt and patting a layer of salt over the fish—the salt seals in the juices, but amazingly doesn’t overwhelm the fish with a salty taste. Present the whole salt-crusted fish at the table if you’d like, then take it to the kitchen to deconstruct it.

From EatingWell: November/December 2011
Yield: 4 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Salt Crust

  1. 2 pounds kosher salt
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (see Tips)

Fish & Stuffing

  1. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  2. 1 2- to 3-pound whole striped bass or tilapia, cleaned with head and tail intact (see Tips)
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  5. 4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  6. 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  7. 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  8. 2 lemons, one sliced and one cut in wedges, divided

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of foil. (To roast the fish in a foil packet instead of a salt crust, see Variation below.)
  2. To prepare salt crust: Combine salt, water and herbes de Provence in a bowl; mix until it’s the consistency of wet sand. Spread half the salt mixture on the prepared baking sheet in a rectangle just larger than the fish.
  3. To prepare fish: Open the fish up and season the inside with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Then add a layer of half the herbs, a layer of the lemon slices and then of the remaining herbs. Place the stuffed fish on the rectangle of salt. Pat the remaining salt mixture over the fish to cover completely.
  4. Bake the fish for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Using a large spoon, rap all around the edge of the salt crust to loosen it. Remove the salt top and carefully remove the skin. Use an offset spatula to remove the top fillet from the bones and transfer to a warmed serving plate. (Wipe away any stray salt.) Use the spatula to lift away the bottom fillet and place it on the plate. Gently scrape off the herbs and lemon slices.
  5. Drizzle the fillets with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

Nutrition

Nutrition Per Serving: 143 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 110 mg cholesterol; 0 g carbohydrates; 24 g protein; 0 g fiber; 374 mg sodium; 356 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus:

0 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 3 lean meat