Salt-Baked Sea Bass

This recipe was created by chef Terrance Brennan of Manhattan's Picholine. The crust seals in moisture and adds flavor.

Slideshow: Amazing Seafood Recipes

  • Servings: 4

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  • Two 2-pound whole sea bass or red snappers, cleaned and scaled
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 sprigs each thyme, parsley and basil, plus 1/4 cup shredded basil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) each fennel seeds, dill seeds and coriander seeds, toasted
  • 9 cups kosher salt (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tomato—peeled, seeded, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Table salt

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°. Season the fish inside and out with pepper. Divide the thyme, parsley and basil sprigs and garlic between the fish cavities; close the cavities with bamboo skewers. In a bowl, combine the fennel, dill and coriander seeds with the salt and water. On a very large rimmed baking sheet, make 2 shallow piles with half of the salt mixture. Set each fish on a pile and cover completely with the remaining salt, pressing to adhere.

  2. Bake the fish for about 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 130° in the thickest part of the fish.

  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the tomato, olive oil and lemon juice and shredded basil; season with salt and pepper.

  4. Using a small hammer or the back of a heavy knife, break the crust. Brush off any salt on the fish. Lift the fish from the bones onto plates and serve with the sauce.

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published November 1999

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