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Monday, November 16, 2009

Salt-encrusted Red Snapper

The first time Dave and I went to Italy, his client took us out to a local eatery and choose our menu for us.  When the chef came out with this enormous fish covered in salt, I was excited and a bit skeptical at the same time. Not being a big salt fan, I was sure the fish would have an overtone of a sardine and I would need much more than a jug of wine to wash it down!  Of course that didn't happen.  The fish was amazing and meal ended properly with shots of grappa!  Yum.

Last night I finally recreated that dish.  The idea of crusting fish in salt is not a new dish or one that I made up, but it is simple and allows the fish to shine.  Do try this for your next dinner party; not only will it impress your guests, but you'll be a fat and happy host!

Tips and Tricks:  Vary what you stuff the fish with.  I used lime and fresh oregano because it's what I had on hand.  Lemon or orange would be great, as would rosemary, thyme or just parsley even.  Leave the fresh herbs in the stalks and just set the in there, so you can pull them out easily after the fish is cooked.

Salt-encrusted Red Snapper
2 lbs of course salt (sea or kosher)
1 cup water

red snapper, gutted and cleaned of scales and fins
oregano stalks (5)
4 slices of lemon or lime
salt and pepper

Rinse the fish and pat dry. Place the oregano and lime slices inside the fish, season with a little salt and pepper.  Drizzle a little olive oil on the inside and outside of the fish.  Pour the salt and water in a bowl, mix till the salt is all moistened.  Lay a bed salt on a sheet pan, place the fish on top and cover all but the head and tail with salt.  Push it all together so it is fully encrusted.

Place in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Tap on the crusted salt to remove.  Strip away the skin, remove the herbs and limes. Serve.

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