Walking by in the morning and say hello to the fish seller of the Giudecca island is one of the thing I love the most. Fresh sea bass, sea bream, black cuttlefish and precious shellfish look at me from the counter. They come from the Venice lagoon. Their marine, clean smell permeates the street and mingles with the salty wind from the Giudecca canal. And that’s one of the best thing about living in Venice.
Baking in a salt crust is an ancient cooking technique. The salt insulates the food, cooking it gently and evenly. That’s the reason why it works so well with such a delicate product as fish. By protecting the sea bass with the salt crust, the fish will stay moist and fragrant. The addition of herbs and lemon zest to the crust enhances the fresh flavor of the sea bass, without altering it.
In my opinion, there is no need to add anything else! Just a few drops of extra virgin olive oil, some black pepper, and that’s it! I have decided to serve it with a fresh Sicilian salad with fennel and oranges, and simple boiled potatoes. Enjoy this healthy and delicious dish!
Sea Bass in Salt and Herbs Crust
1 kg. table salt
1 kg. cooking salt
sea bass (1 kg. for 2 persons)
4 egg whites
1 clove garlic
1 lemon zest
an aromatic bouquet with: rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and bay laurel
a pinch of chili pepper
extra virgin olive oil
LET’S DO IT!
Preheat the oven at 200°C (392°F).
Let’s begin by preparing the crust. Thinly slice the herbs, together with the clove of garlic and the lemon zest. Keep 1 table spoon of sliced herbs aside: you will need it to season the fish. Whisk the egg whites and add the herbs. Then add the salt to the mixture and stir. You’ll obtain a grainy crust.
Gut and clean your seabass. Brush and season the inside with the herbs. Now take a large baking tray and cover it with baking paper. Spread half of the salt crust on the baking tray, following the shape of the fish. Then put the fish on top of it and cover it completely with the rest of the salt mixture. Gently press it.
Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Break the crust with a small hammer and serve the sea bass fillets with Sicilian salad and some simple boiled potatoes, seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper.
For the salad Thinly slice the fennel and the orange, previously peeled. Season the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of chili and add some black olives.