Whole Black Sea Bass Baked in a Salt Crust

I have tested this recipe with Black Sea Bass and Dorade Royale, which has the same shape as sea bass. I have also tested it with large trout which needs less salt crust and a few minutes less cooking time. The recipe for the crust makes a little extra – I could cut the salt back about a cup, but I think people will feel more comfortable with a little extra. For equipment you will need a mixing bowl, whisk, baking sheet pan or roasting pan, parchment paper or aluminum foil.


  • 2 each fresh black sea bass, about 1 ¼ pounds (up to 1 ½ ) - whole, bone-in, head on
  • 1/2 small leek, very thinly sliced and washed (you can substitute onion)
  • 1/2 lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt Crust:
  • 10 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 8 cups kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 black love for the eyes
  • To serve:
  • lemon wedges
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Italian parsley or other herbs to garnish the platter


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°f.
  2. Using a pare of shears or a sharp knife, trim the fish of all fins. Also, check to see that all the scales are removed.
  3. Prepare the vegetables to place inside the cavity of the fish. Sprinkle fresh black pepper into the cavity and a little around the outside of the fish. Layer the ginger, lemon, leeks and sprigs of thyme loosely inside the fish. Do not over stuff it. This is for aromatic purposes only.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and add the salt. Stir and add just enough water (about ¾ cup) to make the salt mix soft enough to smooth out.
  5. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with parchment paper (double pieces) or aluminum foil. Place a layer of the salt mix, about 1/3 inch thick, in the shape of the fish only a little wider, on the paper. Place the fish on top and now cover the top and sides with the salt mix (1/3 inch thick). Make sure the entire fish is sealed - top, bottom & sides – so that it is hermetically sealed. Smooth the crust on top of the fish – you can wet your hands a little to help with this. Use a pairing knife to decorate the fish by making small semi-circles that resemble scales. Use a slice of olive to make the fish’s eye. Refrigerate until ready to bake. (You can prepare this up to an hour before you bake it - longer than that may cause the fish to be overly salty.)
  6. Bake at 400°f. for exactly 30 minutes. The crust will turn a nice golden brown. Present the whole fish in its crust to your guests.
  7. Cut around the circumference of the fish and remove the top crust in one piece. Lift the fish out of the bottom crust and place on a platter. Serve with fruity olive oil and lemon wedges.

This recipe was featured on Season 19 - Episode 1904.

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