Tom Colicchio: Salt-Roasted Sea Bass

Tom Colicchio prepares a chile-and-ginger-stuffed, whole black sea bass that is super easy and packed with flavor.

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[SOUND] And then I'm going to make a salt baked black sea bass. So it's a technique where you take salt, egg whites mixed together and then put it over Bottom and over the top of the fish to form a crust. It goes into the oven and it cooks until it's about 125 degrees internal temperature. It's really moist and delicious and can be done with any kind of round fish. It seems a little complicated. This is one of those dishes where it's really easy if you have guests coming over, and you pull it out of the oven, and you have this fish that's loaded with this crust salt, it looks like you're a superstar. It's pretty easy. [LAUGH]. Yeah, so ten egg whites, two boxes of salt. It's not all gonna go in the fish; it just goes on the fish. Well, alkaline, let's go. [LAUGH]. Very little bit of the salt actually goes into the fish, most of it's just to create the crust. So let me just get this going in the oven. So we'll take some of the salt mixture, put it on the baking sheet. All the way across like so. The fish, it's gutted. The gills are out. If you like, you can stuff some peppers in there. So jalapenos get a little spice. Okay, get in there. Some ginger, where's my knob of ginger? Some ginger. [SOUND] And then, could i get some limes down here? Okay, so I have the fish on the salt. Now I take the fish and the rest of the salt and mold it right on the top. Now also, keep in mind the skin is on this fish. So that's another reason why it keeps the salt out. And you want to actually use kosher salt, not table salt, kosher salt because it's porous is four times less salty than table salt. If you use table salt this might be a little too salty. When you take the salt out after its baked, it's not salty at all. And it's pretty much just about seasoning. And the oven's set at about 400 degrees. This goes in. It'll be in for about a half an hour for a fish that size. And then it comes out looking like that. Wow. That is it. And the nice thing about this, when it comes out of the oven, it can sit a while, it'll stay warm. And so the idea is that when you have your guests come over, you present this great fish, and you have all these different relishes and stuff, and then the tacos you can just warm up on a grill pan around the stove, and everybody kinda helps themselves. So it's like the old taco party. It's pretty easy, you just kinda Take your knife. Make sure you don't go through the fish and just lift it up. This was ten egg whites for for two boxes of salt. This is a black sea bass. You can trim the fins off, but the bones are still in it, yeah. That's kind of a neat thing. It actually cooks on the bone so you get a lot more flavor. It's really gonna flake pretty easily, so you can just run a knife along the backbone, just to loosen up the backbone here. And then just lift it right off. So, I took the top filet off, right? For the bottom, all we do is take the tail, lift it right up, okay? That goes in the garbage. This all comes out, and then there are some bones that run along the ribcage. And you can just take your knife Then just kinda gently just pick through them. There's some bones that come along with the bottom where the fins are, and the same thing up top here. There's just some bones right on the top here that you just kinda just carefully lift out. And then take off, there's a bone going around the front of the belly cavity. And that's pretty much it. [APPLAUSE] That was fun wasn't it.
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Tom Colicchio: Salt-Roasted Sea Bass