I love trying different foods and dishes on the BBQ. The recipe is from Ben Tish and can be found in his Grill Smoke BBQ book. If you are looking for some different dishes to try on the BBQ, this book would be a great purchase.
So why go through all the effort of cooking the fish in a salt crust? There are some who think this is a lot of effort for little reward but conversely, others who think that it helps cook the food evenly and provides some gently seasoning to the fish. In addition, it can look pretty spectacular.
After trying this dish I would not hesitate to try it again. It was a little more effort but the fish was beautifully cooked, had absorbed some of the flavours from the orange and basil and did look pretty good when serving (not to mention the aromas when cracking the salt).
I was a little nervous about how difficult this dish would be, but I think it is quite straightforward. You can get your fishmonger to gut the fish, leaving you to stuff it with the orange and basil, and then prepare the salt-crust.
I cooked this using an indirect method on a baking tray, with some wood chunks from Smokewood Shack.
If you don’t cook fish much on the BBQ I would wholeheartedly recommend you to try this dish.
Salt-baked Sea Bream with Orange and Basil
- Prep Time30 min
- Cook Time25 min
- Total Time55 min
For the Salt-crust Sea Bream
- 2 large Sea Bream
- 800g Coarse Sea Salt
- 1 Small Orange
- 1/2 Bunch Basil
Start by making your salt-crust. Pour the salt into a bowl and gradually add water. Add a tablespoon at a time. The recipe calls for up to 3 1/2 tablespoons but I found I had to add a little more than that. You are looking for a wet-ish sand-like consistency.
Slice the orange into rounds and then in half. Studd these into the cavities with the sea bream. Once stuffed use cocktail sticks to skewer the cavities closed.
Take a baking tray large enough to hold your sea bream and create a base for the fish with the salt. Place the fish on the salt base and then start covering your fish with the remaining salt. Leave the tail and mouth exposed. Gently pat the salt down to form a secure covering around the fish.
You can cook immediately, but I left mine the fridge for around 3 hours. The recipe recommends up-to 4 hours.
Set your BBQ up for direct / indirect cooking and get it to a temperature of around 180°C. Don’t worry if it is a little above this as the salt-crust will provide some protection for your fish. You should cook for around 25 minutes or until your fish hits a temperature of 50°C. Leave the fish to sit for 5 minutes. It will still continue to cook in the salt-crust.
After 5 minutes start to remove the salt-crust. You will find the skin will also come away easily with the salt. Remove the head and tail, plate and serve.