Roasting a whole fish in a salt crust makes a very impressive presentation–cracking the crust is an event. And the technique results in a very moist fish that’s perfectly seasoned and not at all salty.
how to cook striped bass in a crust of salt, which creates a vapor chamber to keep it moist and tasty (and not at all salty).
- 4 or 5 pound striped bass - or black bass, or branzino or other light white fish scaled and cleaned
- 4 cups kosher salt -
- 4 large egg whites -
- 1/2 cup water -
- 2 lemon slices (or lime) -
- 2 sprigs italian parsley -
- 2-3 sprigs thyme + rosemary + tarragon -
- opt. 2-3 slices ginger -
- freshly ground black pepper -
- xv olive oil -
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together salt, whites, and water in a bowl. Season inside of fish with pepper, and stuff with ginger and herbs. Scatter one-quarter of salt mixture on the bottom of a baking dish or a baking sheet to form a bed for the fish. Lay fish on top of salt, and pat remaining salt mixture tightly over top to cover entire surface, including head, leaving tail exposed. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (about 8 minutes per pound). Or until the thickest part of the fish registers about 125 degrees (insert the thermometer through the crust). Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
2. Crack open salt crust using a spoon, exposing the fish. Have on hand a serving platter and a tray to hold the crust and bones. Push back the skin and, using a palette knife or narrow spatula, lift the top fillet, in large pieces, from the frame of bones that runs down the center of the fish and place on the serving platter. Then, starting at the tail end, lift the frame out in one piece. Discard the herbs and the citrus slices. Check the bottom fillet for any visible bones and remove them, then lift out the fillet in large pieces and transfer to the platter.
3. Garnish with lemon slices and drizzle with olive oil orserve with your favorite vegetables.