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25 February 2014

Salt-Crusted Baked Whole Fish

There was a time when as soon as my daughter arrives home from school, she tackles her clay to make miniscule biscuits, cakes or sandwiches. She spends her afternoons  "baking" and "feeding" me with her creations. I'm actually fond of her multicolored layered sandwiches that she slices with so much attention. Every single dish comes with stringent rules of proper eating. I am extra attentive in minding my manners, always, when I am "eating" in front of my daughter. She watches my movements with eagle eyes and reprimands me if I didn't use the table napkin to wipe my mouth nor if I quickly used my fingers to grab the "food".  

Mamma, dovresti usare la forchetta e il coltello quando mangi! (Mommy, you should use the fork and the knife when you eat!)  

Sigh. And She's only 4.

Imagine her excitement when she helped me prepare this dish. It was the first time that she ever touched so much salt. I made her rake her fingers through the first layer of salt for a while before I put the fish. It was quite an experience for her.  The best part came when it was time to dig through the salt encasing the fish. I gave her cheese knives to help her excavate and a pastry brush to sweep away the salt from the fish. It was like her brother's archeological toy project but with a better motive. There was our lunch underneath!

And what was even better than that was when she ate the fish that she excavated! Her usual objections to eating was completely forgotten. Because she worked on it, it gave her the desire to eat. The fish came out perfectly done with just the right amount of tenderness and moisture. It's really one of the best ways to cook the fish. With just salt to help you cook and fresh rosemary to give the hint of flavor, it's definitely a recipe to go for. The best advice I received in preparing this fish is from our fishmonger's daughter who said that she always leaves the eyes uncovered to see if the fish is cooked or not. For that reason, I left the face uncovered. Everyone I know covers the fish completely but I prefer it her way. 

You can get the recipe at this link in She Knows, a site where I also create recipes. Click on this other link to take you to my profile page where you can see all the recipes I have there.  Buon appetito! Have a good day everyone!

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