Salt-baked fish with chermoula recipe

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Salt-baking is one of my favorite techniques for cooking a whole fish. It’s one of those methods where simplicity and minimal labor yield extraordinary results tender, moist, flaky fish that can be spooned off the bone. Going with the simplicity theme, the sauce chermoula, a North African fish marinade, can be made in five minutes in the food processor and adds a gorgeous tart and spicy angle to the dish.

  • Yield: 3 Servings


For the Chermoula
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch cayenne
  • ½ lemon juice
  • Blended oil, to emulsify
For the Fish
  • 1 whole (2½-pound) black sea bass, snapper, or branzino, cleaned, gutted with top and bottom fins and scales removed
  • 4 cups kosher salt
  • 8 egg whites, beaten
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. For the Chermoula
  3. To the bowl of the food processor, add the cilantro, parsley, garlic, spices, and lemon juice. Pulse until chopped. With the food processor on, stream in the oil until everything moves and chops up to be super fine.
  4. For the Salt-Baked Fish
  5. Place the fish on a work surface and make sure it’s dry. Place a tablespoon or so of the chermoula in the inner cavity of the fish.
  6. In a bowl, mix together the kosher salt and egg whites with a fork until uniform. Make a bed using 1⁄3 of the salt mixture on a baking sheet and lay the fish across it. Spoon the remaining salt mixture on top and pat to create a sealed cover across the body of the fish.
  7. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest a few minutes and then crack open the salt layer with a spoon and peel back the skin. Serve the flesh hot, drizzled with the chermoula.

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