Your mom called. She said she’d like my SALT book for Mother’s day. She also wants you to make this for her on Sunday.
This recipe’s roots are in ancient Silk Road extravagance. Probably originating in the Mediterranean salt producing areas, it spread as far as China. You can salt-crust anything, (chicken was an early Chinese variation), but I like fish the best. Typically seen in the magazines with salmon, I use it on whatever fish looks fresh at the market.
1 3-pound whole fish (or the equivalent), such as salmon, trout, snapper, breem, or sea bass (cleaned and scaled)
1 lemon sliced into rounds
1 large bunch fresh thyme
2 large egg whites
5 cups unrefined salt – use something that is not too expensive, as you’ll need a lot. I usually pick up a big bag of coarse Korean Sea Salt from my local Asian market (99 Ranch!)
Good Quality olive oil, for serving
Lemon Wedges, for serving
Citrus Fish – Orange, grapefruit, and lime make a nice filling, separately, or together. For a real citrus punch, layer the outside of the fish with citrus slices as well.
Herbs – Thyme is certainly not your only option. Try fresh lavender, cilantro, sage, mint—anything goes. And consider adding a spice blend, or flavorful condiment to the cavity, like za’atar, furikake, curry, harrisa, or pesto.