- Three 4-inch cinnamon sticks
- 1 medium eggplant (1 pound)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Cayenne pepper
- 3 pounds kosher salt
- 2 cups water
- One 2-pound cleaned red snapper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 lemon, preferably Meyer lemon, cut into wedges
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Poke the cinnamon into the eggplant. Roast the eggplant on a baking sheet until tender, about 50 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool slightly. Discard the cinnamon and peel the eggplant.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, cover the raisins with water and microwave at high power until plumped, about 30 seconds. Drain the raisins and transfer them to a blender. Add the roasted eggplant and the olive oil and puree until smooth. Season the puree with sea salt and cayenne.
- In a bowl, mix the kosher salt with the water until it is the consistency of moist sand. On a parchment paperlined baking sheet, mound one-fourth of the salt slightly larger than the fish. Lay the fish on the salt and fill its cavity with the bay leaves and lemon wedges. Poke a short skewer into the thickest part of the fish, just behind the head. Pack the remaining kosher salt over and around the fish to enclose it; leave the skewer visible.
- Bake the fish for about 35 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the skewer hole registers 135°. Let the fish rest for 5 minutes; crack and remove the salt crust. Serve the fish without the skin, with the eggplant puree alongside.
Crisp Provençal rosé.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.