Salt Crust Baked Wild Sea Bream

February and we’re looking forward to the lighter cooking of Spring and Summer in The Strawberry Tree. However, lots of requests about Salt Crust Baking that we touched upon in last months Turf Roast recipe… so here you go!

This is our take using wild Winter Sea Bream. When Sea Bream re-appears on our menu in July we treat like a summer fish…think of Dorada in a beach restaurant in Spain, Dourada in the Algarve, Daurade on the Riviera and you get the picture. Sea bream is such a fabulous fish. In the Winter months though we like to use this recipe. Salt Crusting Baking is as old as the hills.

WHAT GOES IN:

4kg Organic Sea Salt

8 Egg Whites

4 Wild Line Caught Black Sea Bream about 400-500gms on the bone, head on.

4 Lemon, Sliced Thinly

2 Fennel Bulb, Sliced Thinly

200 ml Irish Organic Rape Seed Oil

HOW IT GOES:

In a large bowl mix together the sea salt and egg whites, and put to one side. With the sea bream, take some of the sliced lemon and fennel, and stuff inside the cavity of the fish.

In two roasting dishes line the bottom with half of the sea salt mixture, place the rest of the fennel and lemon on the top, then place two of the sea bream over in each tray. Drizzle with the organic rape seed oil and cover with the rest of the sea salt mixture and pack down.

Preheat oven to 220° and roast for 30 minutes.

HOW TO FINISH:

When cooked set aside for 10 minutes, crack open the salt with a rolling pin and carefully lift out your sea bream, take of the bone and serve.

WHAT YOU GET:

Well the salt crust works really well with whole fish at keeping the natural moistures inside. Bream, because of its size works best, with this method. What you also get is the drama of breaking the crust in front of your friends!

Evan Doyle, Tim Daly, The Strawberry Tree Restaurant, 2013. Photos, courtesy Steve Ryan

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