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http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/5791/whole-sea-bass-baked-in-a-salt-and-black-pepper-crust

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Whole sea bass baked in a salt and black pepper crust

Baking in a salt crust can be used for most fish with a skin. The best fish to use are sea bass or bream, very simple allowing the full flavour of the fish to come through. Make sure you use extra virgin olive oil or the taste will not be the same.

Ingredients

  • 1x 2kg (4lb 8oz) sea bass or 4 x 500g (1lb 2oz) small whole sea bass, gutted and gilled

  • 900g (2lb) coarse sea salt

  • 75g (3oz) black peppercorns, lightly crushed

  • 2 egg whites

  • sprig of rosemary

  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves

  • 2 lemons cut into wedges

  • For the dressing:

  • 175ml (6fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

  • finely grated zest and juice from 1 lemon

  • 6 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • green leaved salad (such as rocket or baby spinach), new potatoes and lemon wedges to serve

Method

  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

  • 2.

    Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.  Mix together the sea salt, peppercorns and egg whites. Stuff rosemary, lemon wedges and garlic inside the fish.

  • 3.

    Line a large baking or roasting tray with foil. Spread a little of the salt mixture on the foil and place the fish on top; if using small fish, place quite tightly together. Press the remaining salt mixture all over the fish to completely enclose. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The salt crust should feel hard and sound hollow when tapped. Also the fish should be hot inside.

  • 4.

    Meanwhile, mix the oil, honey, lemon zest and juice, parsley and black pepper in a small bowl. As soon as you remove the fish from the oven, scrape the salt crust off the fish and lift off skin. Gently lift the flesh with a large palette knife, being careful not to let it touch the salt. Discard all the bones.

  • 5.

    Put all the fish on a large platter and spoon over some of the dressing. Serve the fish with a light green leafed salad, remaining dressing, new potatoes and extra lemon wedges. 

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