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Whole Sea Bass Baked in a Salt Crust, with aioli

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #15783 at 12:06 pm on Aug 7, 2009

This is such a winner. It's a gentle way of cooking fish and it stays incredibly moist. Thin blanched asparagus was nice on the side.


Adapted from The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook, Bay Books, Australia

1 3-4 lb. whole fish (e,g, sea bass, snapper, grouper) cleaned and scaled
2 lemons, sliced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (or a handful of fennel tops)
6 lb. rock salt.
4 egg whites
Aioli (below)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Rinse the fish and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Place the lemon, thyme and fennel inside the cavity.

Combine the salt and egg whites in a large bowl. Pack half the salt mixture into a large baking dish and place the fish on top. Cover with the remaining salt, pressing down until the salt is firmly packed around the fish.

Bake the fish for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the fish comes out hot.

(Another note--when you suddenly smell the aroma of fish cooking, it is done. This is a sign that the flesh has released its juices).

Remove the dish from the oven. Carefully remove the salt crust from the top of the fish to one side of the pan. Peel the skin away, ensuring that no salt remains on the flesh.

Serve hot or cold with aioli.

(Garlic Mayonnaise)

4 garlic cloves
2 egg yolks
1 Tbs. lemon juice, or more, to taste
1- cups light olive or vegetable oil
White pepper

Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Put the garlic through a garlic press into a small bowl and sprinkle with a little salt. Mash with the back of a spoon until smooth and frothy (Alternatively, pound peeled garlic and salt in a mortar with a pestle.

Put egg yolks in the bowl of a processor with the lemon juice, Run machine until well combine. Add garlic puree and run to combine again.

With machine running, add oil in a thin stream, very slowly at first until mixture starts to thicken, then a little faster. Season the finished sauce to taste with lemon juice, salt and white pepper.

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