Last year I cooked a recipe from Ben Tish which was Salt-baked Sea Bream with Orange and Basil, which is where I got the inspiration for this dish.
One of the things I talked about in that recipe was why you would 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.
I think it is a great way to cook fish. As with my previous cook using this method the fish was cooked wonderfully. The peach and basil went well with it and has encouraged me to try different flavour combinations moving forward.
I served this with grilled fennel and parmesan which I cooked on my small Petromax skillet. All made for a lovely lunch.
This method is not difficult and the fact it is cooked indirectly means that once you have the fish packed in the salt it is a relatively easy cook.
Salt-baked Sea Bass with Peach and Basil
- 1 Whole Sea Bass
- 700 g Coarse Sea Salt
- 1 Peach
- Basil Leaves
- Start by making your salt-crust. Pour the salt into a bowl and gradually add water. Add 4 tablespoons of water to the salt. You are looking for a wet-ish sand-like consistency.
- Slice the peach into small pieces that you can easily place in the cavity of the sea bass. Then add the basil and layer over the peach pieces.
- Take a baking tray large enough to hold your sea bass 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 in the fridge for around 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 60°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 if you want to remove it.