Ask the Doctor: ‘I think I may have bunions — how can I know for sure, and is it genetic?’
Ask the Doctor: ‘I think I may have bunions — how can I know for...

Sarah Gill

5 travel packing hacks, according to a travel expert
5 travel packing hacks, according to a travel expert

Megan Virgo

20 under-€15 interiors buys we’re eyeing up this week
20 under-€15 interiors buys we’re eyeing up this week

Megan Burns

Real Weddings: Amber and Benjamin’s rustic Italian wedding
Real Weddings: Amber and Benjamin’s rustic Italian wedding

IMAGE

This modern country escape in West Cork is on the market for €400,000
This modern country escape in West Cork is on the market for €400,000

Sarah Finnan

Weekend Guide: 11 of the best events happening around Ireland
Weekend Guide: 11 of the best events happening around Ireland

Sarah Gill

Top tips on saving for a home from a financial advisor
Top tips on saving for a home from a financial advisor

Nick Charalambous

Inside this incredible €3.6 million Howth house suspended over a private lake
Inside this incredible €3.6 million Howth house suspended over a private lake

Sarah Finnan

Coffee Culture: FiXX Coffee founder Anne Abberton
Coffee Culture: FiXX Coffee founder Anne Abberton

Sarah Gill

Women in Sport: Olympic swimmer Mona McSharry
Women in Sport: Olympic swimmer Mona McSharry

Sarah Gill

Image / Living / Food & Drink

Supper Club: Sea bass in a salt crust


By Sarah Finnan
31st Aug 2023
Supper Club: Sea bass in a salt crust

If you've been stuck in a cooking rut, this sea bass recipe is just the thing to help you mix things up a bit.

Cooking in salt is a technique that originated in ancient China. This method retains the moisture of fish, poultry, and even meat as it cooks. Because the crust is hermetic, all seasoning permeates the food; the crust (pure coarse or kosher salt, or a paste as in this recipe) creates a kiln effect, speeding up the cooking process. Cracking open a salt crust at a dinner table makes for a dramatic effect.

Sea bass in a salt crust
Serves 8

Preparation: 25 minutes 

Resting: 15 minutes 

Cooking: 20 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1 sea bass weighing about 1 ¾ lb. (800 g) 
  • Aromatic ingredients, such as dill, thyme, or olive oil 
  • ½ lb. (250 g) kosher salt 
  • 1 cup (3 oz./100 g) flour 
  • 1 egg, beaten, plus 3 egg whites 
  • Freshly ground pepper 

 

Method

  1. Remove the scales and fins of the fish and gut it. If you wish, remove the head. Season the cavity with pepper and add other aromatic ingredients if you wish. 
  2. Combine the kosher salt with the flour. Make a well in the center. Lightly beat the three egg whites with a fork. Incorporate them into the flour-salt mixture to make a smooth paste. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). 
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll the paste out to a thickness of about 1/5 in. (4 mm). Make sure the paste is long and wide enough to roll around the fish, and seal the edges with a little water or egg white. When you have wrapped the fish, baste the paste with the whole egg. 
  5. Cook for 17–20 minutes until the crust turns a light golden color. 
  6. Serve immediately. Break the crust at the table and carefully take out the flesh of the fish.

 

*Chef’s notes:

  • Use one of any number of sauces to accompany this dish. Even a simple squeeze of lemon juice enhances it wonderfully. 
  • Do not leave the fish for more than 15 minutes in the crust before you cook it, because it will absorb some of the salt. 
  • Try to find line-caught sea bass as it is not damaged when it is fished and you will be supporting sustainable fishing methods. 

Extracted from The Complete Book of French Cooking by Hubert Delorme and Vincent Boué (Flammarion, 2023). Photography by Clay McLachlan.