We love this recipe, as the rock-salt covering effectively seals in the natural flavours and moisture of the fish, making it wonderfully succulent. The whole preparation process is really beautiful, from stuffing the fish with herbs and lemon slices to covering it entirely with the salt mixture to breaking away the chunks of salt right at the table while serving. Added to that, it’s easy to do and comes out perfectly every time.
- Quickly seared samphire
- Pan fried new potatoes with dill and butter
- Lambs lettuce and cucumber salad with yogurt lemon yogurt dressing
- Lemon butter sauce
- A white wine, like a Rouilly or a dry crisp rose
- 2 1.2-1.4kg sea bass (gutted, but not scaled)
- 2 egg whites
- 4 kg of rock salt (NOT fine table salt)
- Herbs of your choice to mix with the salt, optional
- 2 lemons
- sprigs of fresh thyme
- pinch of salt flakes and cracked pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C
- Lightly beat the egg whites with 3 tablespoons of water and add it into a large bowl with rock salt (mix well with your hands). Feel free to add thyme, fennel seeds, rosemary or any other herbs into the salt mixture. It’s more for aroma rather than flavouring.
- Place about 1/3 of the salt mixture across both of the oven-safe fish plates (or baking tray) and then lay the fish on top, stuffed with the sprigs of thyme and slices from 1 to 2 of the lemons. Then cover the fish entirely with the rest of the salt mixture.
- Put in the oven for 40 minutes (about 40 minutes per kilo per fish). Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- Break the top layer of salt off in chunks and lightly brush off any loose salt. Serve straight from the fish plate.
- This dish can be served straight from the oven to the table and is really quite a show
- Discard the skin (the scales will have already come off and stuck to the salt crust); serve the top layer, remove the bone structure and then serve the underside
- If you prefer to go for a larger fish, we have baked a 2.5kg sea bass in 1 hour at the same temperature. Only having to debone one fish makes serving a large group much faster and easier, and your fish has less chance of getting cold by the time it arrives at the table; our 2.5kg sea bass produced 10-main course servings