Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Salt-Crusted Rose Spotted Snapper Bake Recipe - Bless the Nest
This is one of those recipes that looks so cool to make, but you never think you'll have the time or enough salt to do it, right? That's what I've always thought when seeing this beautiful dish that dates back to the Mongolian Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries. The salt bake creates an oven-like capsule keeping the fish moist and delicate. This method was traditionally cooked over the fire in the past, but nowadays we have our handy-dandy oven to do the trick.
Martin and I rolled up our sleeves and got salty making this showstopper dish the other night in our nest kitchen! We purchased two whole beautiful, Rose Spotted Snappers and stuffed them with the freshest of ingredients. It was so much fun and required minimal ingredients. It felt like we were building salt sandcastles or snowmen with all the damp salt, definitely a hands-on way of cooking and therapeutic!
Check out the recipe below and get cooking your salt-encrusted fish next time for dinner! Be careful as to the size of the fish and the salt ratio-we used a bit too much salt and needed an extra egg yolk, but lessons learned for next time. It was still delicious; although a bit salty (learning curve 1/2 inch next time thick), a bit bony (be careful with the bones) and yet an ever so a delicacy —yummm... Cheers!
Whole Fish (we used Snapper, but any white fish will do the trick) Branzino and Sea Bass are tasty options too!) Keep scales on-gutted and bones in*
1 TBSP Olive Oil
Sea Salt/Pepper to taste
Salt Crust Ingredients
4 Egg Yolks
3/4 Cup Water
Take your fish and place it on a parchment-paper-lined cookie tray. Sprinkle olive oil and salt and pepper on the outside and inside of the fish. Take your fresh herbs, the Thyme and Dill and place in the tummy of the fish. Stuff the tummy with the mushrooms, shrimp, and lemon slices. We forgot to use cooking string to tie the fish closed, but we'd recommend this step as it helps keep salt from the inside of the tummy.
Next, it's time to make your sandcastle, consistency, of a salt mixture, the fun part! Grab a large mixing bowl and add the salt, egg yolks, and water till the mixture is damp and almost feels like how wet sand would feel or snow.
Take your salt mixture and create a base on the tray big enough for the fish to lay on. Place your fish on the salt blanket and take handfuls of the salt and cup the top of the fish creating a firm shell around it. You can leave the head and tail outside as these parts won't be eaten. Almost there!
Next, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake your fish for about 30 minutes until it's a nice golden brown and has a hard crust. Remove from the oven and with a hammer or in our case a rolling pin haha, hit the outside until the crust cracks and reveals the beautifully cooked fish inside. The skin will peel off nicely!
"Bon Nest Appetit"
Enjoy and share or give a thumbs up to our video with the process.