• Behzad Jamshidi

Recipe For Salt Baked Fish

Updated: May 23

Tips & Tricks Before You're On Your Way


- Fresh Fish, No Questions. Get yourself the most beautiful firm white fish you can. Having a fishmonger you can rely on is one of the great privileges of the world. If you can find a whole local fish similar to bass or snapper, you'll never want to cook fish by a different method again.


Photo By Nico Schinco

- Be Bold & Be Confident. Butchering fish is one of the most fundamental skills of the kitchen, and the process of deboning a cooked fish, and butchering one raw are almost the same in this application. Carving your fish tableside for your friends and family can become a show stopper at your net dinner. It also bring a degree of fun to the dinner table. No one care how skilled you are in this part, I think that most people would be both impressed by your boldness to present a fish whole and grateful for food nonetheless.


Photo By Nico Schinco

- Keep It Simple. A perfectly good fish doesn't need a lot of compliment it. Presenting the fish can be as easy are drizzling a bit of good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Finely chopped fresh herbs tossed in a little bit of dressing (tops and bottom included) is my favourite way to have this dish! A few good quality ingredients go a long way!

Ingredients:


- 1 Whole Snapper or Sea Bass (Approx. 2 ½ lbs)

- 1 Cup Egg Whites

- 5 lbs Kosher Salt


Process:


- Line an oven safe pan with parchment paper a few inches wider and longer than the size of your fish. In a large bowl, mix together kosher salt and egg whites until evenly combined, or until the mixture resembled wet sand.


- Place ½ inch of salt down on the bottom of the pan and lay your fish directly on top of the salt. You can choose to stuff the stomach of the fish with herbs or fresh sliced lemons. Seasoned the inside of the fish lightly with salt and black pepper.

- Top the fish with the rest of the salt and evenly pack the salt around the fish to assure that there are no cracks in the salt cask.


- Place on the middle rack in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until the outside of the salt is lightly golden. Removed from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before cracking the salt open. This allows the fish to rest to redistribute the juices, and as well as carry over some of the cooking process so the fish is just perfectly done. For every half pound extra your fish weighs, add another 5 minutes to the cooking time.


- Taking the bottom of a sauce pan or the bottom of a wooden spoon, crack a few places in the salt shell, and carefully peel away and discard the salt crust.


- Removed you fish from the salt bed and transfer carefully to a clean surface. The fish will be very tender and delicate at this point. Be sure to brush off all the salt as best as possible, you're encouraged to keep any of the run off juices add pour it over your fish for more flavor.


- Using and off-set spatula, peel away the skin of the fish by pulling the skin tag at the belly, up and over the back of the fish. Lightly drag the tip of the offset in between the two fillets of the fish. Using the off set to support you, lift the fish and peel it away from the bone line in the center of the two fillets to get large piece of the fish fillet without any bones in them. The motion looks as if you're folding the fish away from yourself. Repeat the process for the bottom fillet towards the stomach, folding the fish up and towards yourself.


- Double check your fillets for any bones, and place your fish in your ghalieh sauce. Any residual juice on either your work surface or on the carcass of the fish is encouraged to be added into the pot. At this point you want to keep your stew warm, but not hot so that the fish will overcook.


- Repeat the process for the other side of the fish, being both delicate with the fish, and diligent when looking for bones.


- Present your fillet on a platter or plate of choice, dress lightly with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and serve.