Trust me, I know this sounds like a lot of salt, but it’s not for seasoning really, it create a mini oven within an oven and helps cook the fish evenly. And by peeling away the skin (that’s touching the salt) you end up with a fillet that is lightly seasoned. This is out of the April 2011 Fine Cooking if you’d like step by step pictures which certainly helped a lot.
Salt Crusted Fish
1 whole fish (~1.5 lbs), gutted and cleaned
4 cups kosher salt
3 egg whites
1/3 cup water
1 lemon, cut in slices
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Rinse the fish with cold water inside and out and pat dry. Stuff the insides with dill and lemon slices then lightly oil the outside of the fish so the salt won’t stick.
3. Mix the salt, water and eggs together.
4. On a baking sheet lay down 1/4″ of salf a little bigger than the fish. Lay the fish on top and encrust the whole thing in salt.
5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until a thermometer stuck into the fillet behind the head reads 135-140 F. Let rest for 10 minutes.
6. Crack the salt crust with the back of a spoon and expose the whole top of the fish.
7. With the spoon, gently scrape the skin off the top of the fillet an push it to the side.
8. Run the spoon along the spine to separate the fish from the bones and move the fillet to a serving plate.
9. Grip the tail end of the bones and pull them away to expose the bottom fillet, and push away the lemon and dill.
10. Use the spoon to seperate the bottom fillet from the skin.
11. Serve with a little olive oil, lemon wedges, and dill.