Salt baked whole fish with aromatics and tahini
6 cups kosher salt
¼ cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 full tablespoon mashed ginger
1 teaspoon chopped red chili
Zest of a whole lemon, and juice reserved
1 tablespoon sumac
½ cup of water
2 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 extra tablespoon reserved
A 2-pound whole fish- like Bronzini or Sea Bass
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon mashed ginger
2 scallions (white and light green parts only), small dice
5 slices of lemon
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (or 350 convection).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt, mint, cilantro, parsley, chili, ginger, lemon zest and sumac. Make sure to mix really well. Add the water, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and lemon juice into the salt. Mix well. You want the salt to resemble packed snow - good enough to throw a snowball (but we don’t throw snow in the kitchen). Place half the salt mixture in the bottom of a large roasting pan or Pyrex-like dish.
Take all your fish mixture ingredients, except the lemon slices, and mix in a small bowl. Pack your fish mixture in the cavity of the Bronzini. Then lay your lemon slices inside. Place the stuffed fish on the salt bed and drizzle the last tablespoon of soy sauce over the fish. Take the rest of your salt mixture and cover the fish completely.
Bake for 35 minutes. The salt crust will become very hard like a shell. Let the fish rest for 10 minutes before touching it. Then break open the salt crust by using a large spoon. Brush as much salt off from the tops and sides of the fish. Peel off the top layer of skin and remove the top fish fillet. Transfer to a platter. Remove the exposed center bones- try to remove the whole thing at once. I like to run my fingers over the fish to check my work and make sure there aren’t any bones I missed (there usually are). Transfer the bottom fillet to the platter. Serve with lemon wedges and a side of tahini (recipe below).
3 tablespoons sesame paste (I prefer the ones in the plastic containers. The ones in the jars are too hard and oily)
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove smashed garlic, or finely chopped
Mix the sesame paste with the lemon juice in a small bowl. With a small whisk or fork, mix well until the paste thickens a lot. Then add the water, salt and garlic. Continue to mix till it is a smooth sauce that will coat the back of the spoon. If the tahini is still too thick, slowly add more water onr Tablespoon at a time until till you reach the desired consistency. Keep refrigerated for up to one week.