This recipe calls for roasting a whole fish inside a salt crust, a technique that Mediterranean cooks have used since ancient times. The crust functions much like a clay pot, protecting the food from direct heat while promoting uniform cooking and sealing in moisture. It imparts a hint of saltiness that highlights the food's natural flavor. For a simple accompaniment to the snapper, try our Zucchini and Carrot Noodles. After removing the salt crust, fillet the fish and serve on a bed of these colorful vegetable noodles.
- 1 whole snapper or bass, about 5 lb., scaled,
cleaned and fins removed
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- 2⁄3 cup water
- 9 cups kosher salt
Rinse the snapper inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the fish inside and out with pepper.
In a bowl, stir together the egg whites, water and salt to make a paste. Spread half of the salt paste over the bottom of an oval roasting pan. Place the fish on top and pack the remaining salt paste over the entire surface of the fish.
Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish registers 135°F, 50 to 60 minutes.
The salt paste will have formed a hard crust; gently crack it with a spoon, lift off the crust and discard. Serve the fish immediately. Serves 4 to 6.