Friday, February 3, 2012

Spigola al Sale (Sea Bass in Salt)

Yesterday I posted on facebook that I was having serious blogging withdrawals. BTW- you can check out my new facebook cooking page here.  It is a simple and quick way to share cooking information and tips. I love the interaction that facebook offers. Sometimes I feel like I am all alone talking to myself in blog land . I am only 2 clicks away from 200 "likes" on my page. I may be a nerd, but that totally excites me.

Ok, back to what I was saying about having blogging withdrawals. It has been about 1 1/2 weeks since my last post. I have been super busy with my volunteer job, schoolwork, and taking care of my family while attempting to keep my house from becoming a pigsty that I haven't had time to blog. I find it rather ironic that I have such a strong desire to write. This is from someone who absolutely can't stand, hates, loathes to write. I have always found it to be so laborious. I don't even like to email, which my friends and family can attest to since I often send short emails and replies. In high school I was supposed to do a research paper, but calculated that I would still get a C without doing the paper so I didn't do it. I am glad that my boys don't read my blog :) Funny how things change! I still don't enjoy writing in general, but I do enjoy cooking and sharing so I guess that overrides the dislike of writing.

I am really excited to share this Spigola al Sale or Sea Bass in Salt recipe with you. I first learned about this technique for cooking fish at the Italian cooking school. We cooked a huge whole Sea Bass stuffed with spices, incased in salt, and then baked. It was super moist and absolutely delicious. You might think it would be salty, but it wasn't at all. The skin keeps the salt away from the meat so there is no salty taste.  I even tried this technique with a whole chicken and it turned out great too!

A few weeks ago I decided to make it at home. This recipe is not an exact science so I will just share with you how I made it.

Spigola al Sale
(Sea Bass in Salt)

3 whole Sea Bass, gutted and rinsed- (Size doesn't matter, but you may need to adjust cooking time for a smaller fish. I think these fish were about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 lb. box of kosher salt or sea salt
 4 egg whites
lemon slices
garlic cloves
spices- I used dried spices for fish. You could use rosemary, parsley, thyme (fresh is best)

Prepare fish by placing whole garlic, lemon slices and spices inside the fish. Not sure if it is necessary, but I used toothpicks to keep the fish closed so the salt wouldn't get inside.

Beat egg whites with either a stand or hand mixer on high speed using a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the salt until thoroughly mixed and the salt is wet. Spread salt on a baking sheet or dish about 1/2 inch deep.

Lay fish on the salt. 

Completely cover fish with salt.

Bake the fish at 375-400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Crack salt and place on serving dish for a great presentation before breaking open the salt.

Remove salt before eating.

We were so excited to try it that we forgot to take any pictures of the meat. I can assure you that it was absolutely amazing! This is the best way to bake fish in my opinion. You can do this technique with Red Snapper, Grouper, Bream, or I venture to say any other whole fish.

Here's the chicken version. The meat is succulent and very aromatic.
Simply put the spices into the cavity of the chicken or under the skin. Cover bottom of a casserole dish or roasting pan with salt mixture then cover chicken with salt. Bake at 450 for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

Crack open salt.

Unlike this picture, the chicken should be place in the pan breast up. It might not look too pretty, but it tasted mighty fine!

Buon Appetito!

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