Baking whole fish in an armor of sea salt keeps it beautifully moist and concentrates its flavor without making it excessively salty and without adding any fat. The sea bass steams inside the crust, preserving its omega-3 fatty acids. (Striped bass and snapper can also be cooked this way.) The accompanying sautéed cherry tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and lycopene, a potent antioxidant.
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Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 cups kosher salt
5 large egg whites, lightly beaten
One 2-pound sea bass, cleaned and scaled
4 garlic cloves, 3 smashed, 1 minced
2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped leaves
2 lemon slices, halved
2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat the paper with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a bowl, stir the salt with the egg whites until evenly moistened. Set the fish on the prepared baking sheet and fill the cavity with the smashed garlic, parsley sprigs and lemon slices. Pat the salt mixture all over the top and sides of the fish to completely cover it. Bake the fish for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the saffron and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the shallot and minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook just until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Add the vinegar and chopped parsley and season with pepper.
Using a wooden spoon, tap the salt to crack it; lift off the crust in large pieces. Carefully remove the fish skin and lift the fillets from the bones. Transfer to plates and top with the tomato vinaigrette. Serve right away.
One Serving 294 calories, 10.9 gm total fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 4 gm carb.
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