Salt Baking

Salt baking is a technique in which salt is bound with a little egg and used to encase a food. The encased food is then baked until finished. The wonderful thing about salt-baked foods, aside from the amazing taste, is the presentation. You bring out what your diners see as a hunk of salt to the table and set it before them. You then proceed to dramatically break apart the salt crust releasing a delicious and mysterious cloud of steam that clears to reveal perfectly cooked food. Try this recipe for salt-crusted fish. It’s low maintenance and will become your go-to weeknight meal.

  • 1 fish, 1 to 2 pounds, gutted but with the skin and scales left on (Porgy is featured here; trout, bronzino, bass, and mackerel are also good.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 pounds kosher salt
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme

Preheat your oven to 400°. Combine the salt and eggs and mix until it has a texture like damp sand. If the mixture is too dry to clump together when you squeeze a handful of it then add water, a tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Place a thin layer of the salt in a baking dish the size of your fish. Stuff the fish with the lemon and herbs and place it on the salt. Fully and tightly cover the fish with the remaining salt. Bake for roughly 35 minutes for a 1-pound fish and 45 minutes for a 2-pound fish. If you have excess salt then use the same technique on a mixture of whole unpeeled carrots, potatoes, and beets. They’ll be ready after about 45 minutes. You can even bake all this together in the same dish if you choose.