Salt-Baked Sea Bass
- SERVINGS: 4
This recipe was created by chef Terrance Brennan of Manhattan's Picholine. The crust seals in moisture and adds flavor.
- 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 tomatopeeled, seeded, minced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Table salt
- 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.
- Bake the fish for about 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 130° in the thickest part of the fish.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the tomato, olive oil and lemon juice and shredded basil; season with salt and pepper.
- 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.