fish baked in salt

recipe & image by The Olive Scene

A salt-crusted whole fish makes an impressive dinner party entrée, but it’s also easy enough to make anytime as it takes only 10 minutes to prep!

Don’t be intimidated by the amount of salt called for in the recipe: you’re using it to create a crust that locks in moisture to allow the fish to steam in its own juices. The end result is not a salty dish at all, but is instead an incredibly flavorful, moist fish.


serves 4-6

8 egg whites
1 cup water
1.5 kg sea salt
1 juicy lemon
Whole fish, cleaned (such as snapper, tarakihi, or salmon)
Olive oil - citrus flavoured is an option
1 bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
Kelp Salt and pepper to taste

nz coarse sea salt


Preheat the oven to 225 C. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
Combine the egg whites, water, and salt in a large bowl. Use your hands to combine the mixture until it has the texture of wet sand.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread half of the salt mixture on a sheet pan. Press into a 1/2 inch layer big enough to rest the fish on.
Thinly slice half of the lemon, and zest the other half for garnishing.

Drizzle the cavity of the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon slices in a layer inside the cavity and stuff with a small handful of parsley leaves torn from the stem. Drizzle olive oil on the outside of the fish. Be sure to coat season both sides.

Place the fish on the salt bed. Pile the remaining salt mixture on top of the fish. Use your hands to mold the salt around the entire fish, creating a sealed crust.

To cook 500g-1kg fish, roast for 30 minutes. Add 5 minutes for every additional 500g. The crust should be golden brown and hard. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Use the side of a spoon to crack the edges of the salt crust around the entire fish. Peel the top off (it should come off in large pieces).
Cut the fish, discarding the skin, as it's very salty!
Place the fillets on dinner plates, drizzle with more olive oil, then top with chopped parsley and lemon zest.