I love trying recipes that I have never done before. This Whole Striped Bass Baked in Salt is certainly one of them. It may look and sound more difficult than it is, but, I promise you the results are worth every single step. We are so lucky to live in an area that has such plentiful seafood. Our dear friend Mark caught this Striped Bass for us to make this incredible recipe. Mark and Peter (my husband) cleaned it and delivered it to me on ice to prep. By stuffing the bass it helps the fish keep its shape and gives it a rich moist flavor. The crust of salt mixture is a technique used for whole fish in parts of Italy and Spain. Baking the whole fish yields considerably more quantity of fish than fillets.
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes for 10 pound Bass (8 minutes per pound)
NOTE: Cleaning Fish – Snip off pectoral fins and sharp dorsal fins with scissors. Lift back fish’s collar, snip gills, and pull them out with your fingers. Scale fish by scraping firmly from tail to head with the edge of a soup spoon. Remove entrails by inserting tip of knife in anal cavity and slicing to gill openings. Remove innards with fingers, scrape out and rinse fish.
8 egg whites
5 pounds of coarse sea salt
1 whole wild striped bass, about 8-10 pounds, cleaned (See Note)
2 lemons, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 limes, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 oranges, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
10 fresh basil leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2-ounce piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. (If the fish is too long for the pan, trim the tail with kitchen scissors).
- In a standup mixer with the beater attachment, beat egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the salt until the mixture is only slightly moist and has the texture of cornmeal.
- Pour enough salt mixture into the pan to form a fish-size bed not thicker than a ½ of an inch when patted down. Lay the fish on the salt bed and place the lemons, limes, oranges, parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme, garlic and ginger inside the cavity and the gills, being careful not to overstuff or force in the ingredients, the idea is for the fish to return to its natural shape.
- Pat the remaining salt mixture around the top and sides to form a crust that entirely encloses the fish.
- Bake 8 minutes per pound of fish. The crust should be hard and light brown. Let it cool slightly, then insert a knife along the edge of the crust. Carefully lift off the crust in 1 or 2 large pieces and pull skin away from fish.
- Gently remove flesh in portions and serve.
SERVE: Serve with lemon wedges or a lime aioli.