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Salt Crusted Fish

This technique makes cooking a whole fish an easy process and lends very moist, flavorful results! (taken with Instagram iphone app)

When I saw the article in the May edition of Fine Cooking on Salt Encrusted Fish, I knew I had to try it. After all, I live in South Florida and I’m always trying to figure out new things to do with seafood.

This technique is surprisingly easy! Essentially, you take a whole fish and encase it in a salt layer that steams the fish as it cooks! And, it just looks cool.

Buy local! This red snapper came from a local fishery in the Keys, close to where I live.

This works well with any round fish such as a salmon, striped bass or trout. Use what is local for you- I used Red Snapper. You will also need a large amount of salt, and instant read thermometer, a cookie sheet/baking pan and some egg whites, and “aromatics” (ie, herbs) to stuff the fish with. Be sure to buy at least a 3lb box of kosher salt for this recipe.

Here are the ingredient variations/cooking times from FineLiving.com


Place the fish on the salt mound and then get to work covering it to form an encasement.


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Your fish will need to have its insides and all scales removed (have your butcher do this). Rinse the fish and pat dry.

Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil (so it will be easier to remove the salt crust after it bakes). Stuff the fish with your favorite aromatics- herbs, lemons, garlic, shallots- whatever you like!

Next, mix your salt with the egg whites and water. Spread enough of the salt mixture on the baking pan to make a bed to put the fish on, about 1/4” thick. Put the fish on top of the salt bed and make a 1/4” crust around the entire fish.

Roast the fish for 20-30 minutes of until an instant read thermometer reads 135 degrees.

Remove the fish and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

Serving the fish:

Take the back of a metal spoon and tap the salt crust to break it. Next, push the crust to the side so the fish is exposed. Using the spoon, scrape the skin off the top of the fillet and push it to the side.

Run the spoon along the spins to separate the meat from the bones and then use a fork or spatula to put the fish on serving plates.

Serve with olive oil and lemon juice. Your guests will love this simple and fun party trick and it will make you look like a cooking genius. The hardest part of this whole process is removing the bones so take your time and it will turn out great!

The salt forms an encasement to steam your fish leaving it moist and juicy!

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9 Responses to Salt Crusted Fish

  1. Larry June 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    I’d like to try this sometime when I’m eating alone. Bev is not a major fish person anyway and refuses to eat one that’s looking at her :-). See you in a week.

  2. Gary House June 13, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Great recipe! Starving already :-)

    Could you specify what texture the salt should be? rock, Couse or fine? does it matter?



  3. Robyn June 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Larry- if you like fish this recipe is for you! Easy and tasty!!

  4. Barry June 15, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    We Get fresh Yellowtail or Grouper every Sunday. Looks like I’ll be getting Yellowtail for this recipe.

  5. Ethan June 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Nice recipe idea, I will definitely have to try this with the fresh Salmon that I recently got. Out of curiosity, do you prefer using rock salt or sea salt? Any differences in taste etc?

  6. Dave~ June 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Doesn’t this make the fish REALLY salty?

  7. Robyn June 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm #


    The salt is only used to “steam” the fish in a salt encasement. You will knock the fish off and then take the skin off and then serve the filets that haven’t touched the salt. So, it really just adds flavor but does not make the fish salty like you might expect.

  8. Robyn June 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    I would use kosher salt. Good luck!

  9. Chris June 24, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    I used a similar technique with beef fillet and was amazed that it did NOT taste salty at the end. Nice job Robyn.