This is such a wonderful way to cook and serve whole fish. The sea bass remains succulent and perfectly flavoured. Good fishmongers sell wild sea bass which are bigger than the farmed variety. Some of the very large fish will feed up to 6 people although this recipe serves 2. Making the salt crust is easy-the tricky bit is telling when the fish is cooked. Using a digital probe is the easiest method but if your kitchen doesn’t run to one stick a knife through the salt crust into the fish, leave it for 5 seconds and then test the tip against the back of your hand. If it’s piping hot the fish is cooked. If not cook for a further 5 minutes.
- For the salt crusted sea bass
- 1 kg coarse rock salt
- 2 egg whites
- 1 wild sea bass, about 650g, gutted and scaled
- 1 lemon, finely sliced
- Heat the oven to 220˚c, fan oven 200˚, mark 7. For the salt crust, place the salt in a mixing bowl and stir in the egg whites. Spread about a quarter of the salt mixture in a strip over a large baking tray or roasting tin.
- Stuff the cavity of the fish with the slices of lemon and season with ground black pepper. Lay the fish on top of the salt strip. Cover the fish with the remaining salt, packing it around the fish in an even layer. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (see introduction). Leave to rest for 5 minutes before cracking open the salt crust. Peel off the skin and lift the fish off the bone. Serve with a salsa verde or homemade garlic mayonnaise, some new potatoes and salad.