- 16 bay leaves
- 16 thyme sprigs
- 8 boneless whole trout, tails cut off (about 8 ounces)
- 12 cups kosher salt (6 pounds), plus more for seasoning
- 1 cup drained pickled cocktail onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 500°. Place 2 bay leaves and 2 thyme sprigs in each trout; secure with toothpicks. On each of 2 large rimmed baking sheets, spread 2 1/2 cups of kosher salt in a thick, even layer. Sprinkle the salt with water until damp. Place 4 trout on each baking sheet and cover each trout with 3/4 cup of salt, packing the salt to cover the fish completely. Use the remaining 1 cup of salt to fill in any gaps. Sprinkle the salt with water to dampen it. Bake the fish in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the drained pickled cocktail onions with the white wine vinegar and vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Carefully break the salt crust off the trout and transfer the fish to plates. Serve the trout at once, passing the pickled onion vinaigrette at the table.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.