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Seabass in Salt - Lubina a la Sal
16 October 2020 @ 16:12


For those who read my blog regularly, will know that I don't often post fish recipes, seafood is quite common, but fish? Let's say it's not one of my favourite foods. That said, it doesn't mean I don't know how to cook fish...something I had to get to grips with because my wife happens to love fish, so now and again I will eat it or just cook it!

If you were following my blog a few months ago you will have read my recipe for "Pollo a la Sal"- Chicken in Salt - well that recipe really originated from this one and as I cooked it the other day I thought I might share it with you.

Cooking sea bass, or any other fish as it happens, in salt produces a rock hard shell around the fish thus keeping in heat and flavour. It is an extremely old cooking technique believed to have originated from the dead sea region and then it extended throughout the Mediterranean. Fishermen would lay the fish on a large stone and cover it with rock salt then they would light a fire beneath the stone, the rising heat would get trapped in the salt 'oven' so to speak and cook the fish evenly. Fortunately, no rocks are needed for this recipe! The technique, although old, is extremely effective and there are many reasons to keep using it and experimenting with different foods.

Despite what you might think, covering the fish with salt does not make the food salty. Being rock salt and bound with egg, it never penetrates the food and simply acts as a made-to-measure oven wall. Because the hard salt shell prevents any moisture from escaping during the cooking process it keeps the meat moist and tender.

The fish effectively cooks in its own juices whilst inside the shell, it does not require any fat or oil. The result is a really healthy fish meal - low in calories and high in nutrients. The egg binder makes the salt wall practically airtight keeping in all the flavour, be it from the meat or fish itself or the added herbs and seasoning - Nothing escapes

   

  


Ingredients for two people:

800 g Seabass – gutted BUT with the scales left on (if you can't find one big one, get two small ones and lay them side by side)
1.5 kg of Coarse sea salt
2 Egg whites
1 tbsp Ground Fennel

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
  2. In a big bowl, use your hands and mix the salt, the fennel and the egg whites.
  3. Get an oven tray big enough to place the sea bass on. Lay down a 1 cm-thick layer of salt, covering the entire bottom of the tray or an area more than big enough to sit the seabass on. Remember to avoid scaling the fish as the scales protect the fish from the heat.
  4. Place the sea bass on top and cover it completely with salt except for the tail, which should remain uncovered. This is a little trick to test if the fish is cooked properly. Make sure you pat the salt down until it becomes firm and compact, then mark a line following the silhouette of the fish without penetrating the salt completely. This will help when you break it open after cooking. #See photos above#
  5. Bake in the oven for 18 minutes at 200ºC. Avoid opening the oven during this time.
  6. Remove from the oven. Pull the fishtail and if it comes away easily the fish is ready, if it is doesn't, it needs a little longer.
  7. Use a sharp knife and cut along the line previously marked out before cooking and take off the salt cap in one piece if possible.
  8. Remove the fish skin with care and use a couple of spoons to fillet the fish. Then remove the bones, in one piece, and finally remove the second fillet. It is important not to remove the fish whole from the salt as it will just fall to pieces.
  9. Drizzle with some parsley oil and serve warm together with some salad or grilled vegetables.

Enjoy!



Like 1




2 Comments


Lizy said:
17 October 2020 @ 08:37

Thanks for that.


Christine said:
20 October 2020 @ 01:01

I've always made it without any egg, just spray a little water on the top with a spray bottle, works fine. Also when buying the fish tell them it's for "a la sal", that way they don't slice open the gut leaving a place for salt to get inside. They bring the guts out through the mouth. No opening!


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