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salt-baked branzino

char buddychar buddy Posts: 5
edited November -1 in Seafood


• 3 Cup sea salt, or kosher salt
• 4  large egg whites (I use egg whites from a carton - All Whites)
• 2 whole branzini (European sea bass) or small sea bass
• 6 sprigs fresh parsley
• 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 2 Clove garlic
• 4 lemon slices, halved
• parchment paper
• seven newspaper sheets


I got familiar with Branzino a few months ago when my fishmonger started carrying it. I've tried it different ways, but this treatment produces truly haunting flavors. Branzino is a Mediterranean-version of sea bass and you can substitute small sea bass, but its texture and flavor remind me more of red snapper.
Mix the salt and egg whites until you get a consistency like wet sand. Vary the mix until you get it right and do not worry about having too much salt.

Rinse and dry the fish. Fill the fish cavity with the parsley, rosemary, garlic and lemon slices. No salt or pepper, please.
Put the fish on parchment paper cut generously to fit the two fish.
Build salt mounds evenly over each fish. Make sure both fish are covered completely.
Crank the egg up to 400* f. Soak some wood chips (alder, apple, etc) and add them to the fire if you like.
Here comes the exciting part. Cut the seven newspaper sheets to fit the parchment paper and put them under the parchment paper. Put the fish and paper on a cutting board for transport to the EGG.
When the Egg comes to temp, move the newspapers/fish onto the egg and close the cover immediately. Make sure your guests see this and let them wonder whether the newspapers will burn up.
Cook the fish for at least 20 minutes. If you can see the fish through the chimmey, or you feel lucky enough to lift the dome, you can tell when the fish is ready by the color of the salt. The more golden the salt dome, the greater the chances the fish is done. Golden is good, anything darker is bad. If by chance your fish emerges uncooked, just put them in a sheet pan and cook until done.

After the salt mounds turn golden and cake, you should be able to put a large spatula under the paper and lift them out as one item. Let them cool for a bit, then crack the salt away from the fish, then carefully lift fish from bones.


Number of Servings:

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