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Piran sea bass in salt

Ingredients

  • 2 Piran sea bass – about 600-800 g each, or
  • 1 Piran sea bass – about 800-1200 g
  • 3 kg Piran salt (for baking)

Optional ingredients:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • potatoes
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • twig of rosemary, preferably fresh
  • freshly ground pepper

    Recommended side dish
    • Potatoes baked in salt or chard with potatoes make for excellent side dishes.

    Preparation

    Clean the fish but don't scale it. Rinse it and dry it with a paper towel. Cover a baking tray with salt about 1 cm deep and place the fish on top. If preferred, put a few drops of olive oil, a twig of rosemary and/or some garlic into the stomach cavity. 

    Cover the stomach cavity opening with a piece of tin foil to avoid the meat coming in contact with salt. Cover the entire fish with the remaining salt 1 cm thick or more. If preferred (we warmly recommend it), bury a few washed but unpeeled, half-cooked potatoes in the salt.

    Preheat the oven to 200-220 °C and bake for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. While baking, the salt will harden and turn slightly brown. When the fish is done, crack the salt crust with a knife or kitchen mallet and remove all of the salt from the top half of the fish. 

    To remove the skin (which can't be eaten because it hasn't been scaled), take a knife or fork and cut along the back from head to tail. Remove the foil from the stomach and make another cut past the pelvic fins to the tail. The skin is easily removed – lift it or roll it on a fork while taking care not to drop too much salt on the fish. 

    Once the top half of the fish has been cleaned, it is ready to be served. Then remove the bones and head and clean the other half. If the fish is baked just right, the meat will not stick to the bones.

    If you want to make the salt crust around the fish even harder and browner, place it in a bowl before baking, add two egg whites and form a rough dough. You can also add two tablespoons of flour. The fish will bake equally well in both cases, the only difference is in the effort you'll have to make to break and remove the salt before serving.

    When the meat is ready to be served, you can add some mild olive oil to bring out the delicious and mild taste of sea bass baked in salt.
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