- Yield: 2 Servings
- 4 cups [1.2 kg] sea salt
- 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- One 1½- to 2-lb [680- to 910-g] whole round fish (such as trout, black bass, sea bass, salmon, or branzino), cleaned and scaled
- 8 thin slices lime
- 1 cup [20 g] tightly packed fresh basil leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
How to Make It
- Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C]. In a large bowl, combine the salt with the egg whites and stir (I use my hands for this) until the mixture resembles wet sand. If you find you need a bit more moisture, you can add a little water.
- Spoon enough of the moistened salt onto a large baking sheet so it matches the approximate shape and size of the fish. Place the fish on top of the salt. Put 4 of the lime slices and half of the basil in the cavity of the cleaned fish, and close the cavity with bamboo skewers or several crisscrossed toothpicks. Top the fish with the remaining 4 slices of lime and the rest of the basil. Cover with the rest of the salt, pressing it on the fish gently, and ensuring the fish is totally covered.
- Roast the fish for 15 to 18 minutes, or 8 minutes per 1 in [2.5 cm] of thickness. To test for doneness, insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish, cracking through the salt just a bit and pushing it back until you can see whether the flesh is cooked. It should register 125° [52°C]. The salt should have a nice golden color to it at this point. Remove the fish from the oven.
- Crack open the salt crust right away, disposing of it once it’s completely removed. To serve, lift the fish from the bones, and transfer to a platter or individual plates. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.