Salt-Crusted Snapper with Eggplant-Raisin Puree

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Top Chef Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio says fish in a salt crust is sexy.

Salt-Crusted Snapper with Eggplant-Raisin Puree
Photo: © Kate Mathis
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Yield:
4

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. In a bowl, mix the kosher salt with the water until it is the consistency of moist sand. On a parchment paper–lined 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.

  4. 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.

Serve With

Arugula salad.

Suggested Pairing

Crisp Provençal rosé.

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