Pesce Arrosto in Sale (Whole Baked Fish in a Salt Crust)

Adapted from Mario Batali: Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home


  •     4 pounds coarse sea salt
  •     2 egg whites
  •     1 whole fresh snapper or salmon, weighing at least 4 pounds, cleaned
  •     High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  •     Lemon wedges


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 2: Pour the sea salt into a large bowl, add the egg whites, and mix vigorously until all the grains of sea salt are coated with egg whites. Spread 1/3 of the salt mixture over the bottom of a large rectangular or oval oven dish big enough to hold the whole fish. Place the fish on top.

Step 3: Cover it completely with the rest of the salt. No part of the fish should remain uncovered.

Step 4: Place the dish in the oven, reduce the heat to 400 degrees F, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish; generally, cook for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness at the widest part of the fish.

Step 5: Remove the fish from the oven. Crack the crust at the table with the handle of a knife or a small hammer.

Step 6: Serve with lemon wedges and drizzled with olive oil.

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