Saturday, July 31

Whole Fish in Salt Crust - Summer Recipes from Italy

This is delicious healthy fish dish that comes out super moist & buttery every time with a dramatic table-side presentation! Don't be afraid of the name - it is not salty at all. In fact the salt crust seals in moisture essentially steaming the fish inside. Because the salt absorbs the moisture, the texture and taste of the fish ultimately is more that of roasted than steamed fish.

Whole Fish in Salt Crust
Pesce in Crosta di Sale

whole fish (we use Spigola or Orate but you can use any whole round fish you like or that looks good at the market on any given day)
pepper flakes
sea salt, coarse ground or rock salt
olive oil

Stuff the cavity with parsley & lemon slices.

In a separate bowl put 3 1/2 pounds of coarse sea salt per 1 1/2 pounds of fish, a small handful of pepper flakes, rind of one lemon and one egg for each fish & mix. (You can add any herbs you like - rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves - it doesn't matter you are just flavoring the salt.) It should have the consistency of for making good sand castles, add a water a little at a time to achieve this consistency.

Rub the fish down with olive oil and then lay a 1/2 inch bed of salt in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place down the fish and cover with the remaining salt. There should be a 1/2 inch crust of salt all around the fish. It is not necessary to cover the head & tail.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. You can insert a fork into the center of the fish & when the tips are hot the fish is done.

The fish will stay warm in the salt crust for well over an hour - this is something you can do ahead of time as pull it out as your guests arrive.

Crack the salt crust table side - for a dramatic entrance of the secondo! Use a pastry knife to gently brush away excess salt.

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