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.

Served With:

  • 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
 

Ingredients:

Main Ingredients:

  • 2 1kg sea bass (gutted but not scaled)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g of salted butter

Herbs

  • 4 kg of rock salt (NOT fine table salt)
  • 4 lemons (2 for the sauce)
  • sprigs of fresh lemon thyme
  • pinch of salt flakes and cracked pepper
 

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220.C
  2. 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.
  3. 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 lemon thyme and slices from 1 to 2 of the lemons. Then cover the fish entirely with the rest of the salt mixture.
  4. Put in the oven for 40 minutes (about 40 minutes per kilo per fish). Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Break the top layer of salt off in chunks and lightly brush off any loose salt. Serve straight from the fish plate.
 

BK Tips

  • 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
  • For the salad dressing, use lemon, yoghurt, white wine vinegar, walnut oil, fresh crushed garlic, flake salt and cracked pepper; for the wine, we recommend an easy white like a Rouilly, or a dry crisp rose