Whiting Baked In A Salt Crust

Baking fish in a salt crust is a spectacle best performed in front of a crowd. Cracking the salt dome, releasing a deliciously fragrant puff of steam, is a little bit of food magic. Had I caught a big sheepshead or a couple Spanish mackerel, we might have been able to share this recipe with a larger group. As luck would have it, on my morning of fishing off the Folly Beach Pier here in Charleston all I came up with was a small whiting. Generous fishing buddies gave me their catch (another small whiting) and we were in business.

whiting and rosemary

Some recipes merely form the salt crust with a paste of salt and water, but according the the Lee brothers and their Charleston Kitchen Cookbook, the best crust is made with a paste of salt and beaten egg whites. At a ratio of about one egg white to one cup of salt, the consistency becomes that of wet sand, allowing you to easily mound and sculpt the crust over the fish. As the crust browns, baking the egg whites, your kitchen will take on an aroma of breakfast rather than a seafood restaurant.

half-entombed

entombed

The bottom line is that this recipe will yield tender, delicious fish, but it does use a ton of salt. I hesitate to say that it’s a waste of salt, since the fish was so good, but I certainly wouldn’t prepare fish this way too often.

browned crust

cracked open

You don’t want your friends to get used to the spectacle, anyway.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s