Salt-Crusted Sea Bass by Executive Chef Rick Moonen
- 1 whole fish (1¼ to 1¾ pounds), gutted, gills and fins removed (All small whole fish will work here)
- ½ cup water
- 4 cups coarse salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chervil, cilantro—your choice)
- Lemon wedges
- 1 4.25 oz can Lightly smoked sardines in organic extra virgin olive oil and cayenne pepper
- 1 4.25 oz can Lightly smoked sardines in lemon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 6.7 oz jar Skipjack tuna fillets in extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, rehydrated and sliced into strips
- ¾ Cup Non pareil Capers, drained
- ½ Pound Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves (that is a LOT of spinach)
- 6 Eggs Hard Boiled
- 1 Baguette Sliced on a diagonal and toasted in olive oil …crostini
Directions for Sea Bass
1) Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
2) Whisk the egg whites and water in a large bowl until very frothy and about doubled in volume. Pour in the salt and mix well with your hands. You are going for something the consistency of wet sand; if your crust seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water.
3) Pat out 1 cup of the crust mix on the baking sheet, into the size and shape of your fish. Set the fish on top and cover with the remaining crust mix. Wet your hands and pat the crust all over, smoothing it out and making sure the fish is completely sealed.
4) Roast small fish for 30 minutes, large fish for 35 minutes.
5) Remove the fish from the oven and crack the crust along the sides with the back of a big spoon. Lift the crust up off the fish—carefully, because it will be hot.
6) Let the fish cool a few minutes, then peel off the skin. Slide the top fillets off the bones and divide them between two plates. Grab the tail and lift up the bones. Brush or spoon any crust away from the sides of the remaining fillets, then lift then from the bottom crust and invert then onto a cutting board. Peel off the skin and divide the fillets between your two plates.
7) Sprinkle with oil and chopped herbs. Serve with lemon wedges or a butter sauce.
Directions for the Crostini
1) In a large stainless sauté pan over medium high heat add the entire contents of the canned sardines and the jarred tuna. With a wooden spoon start to break up the fish into chunks. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and the capers.
2) Incorporate all of the spinach into the warm mixture. The spinach will absorb all of the oil…add more extra virgin olive oil if you need to. When everything is hot and melted you are ready.
3) Mound the warm mixture on to a toasted crostini. Top each one with a sliced hard cooked egg and enjoy.
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