Salt-Baked Striped Bass
Baking in salt is a sneaky way of splitting the difference between steaming and roasting. The layer of coarse salt and egg whites is there to seal in moisture. Heat causes the salt to form a hard crust, which, when cracked open, reveals a succulent bass, infused with ginger and lemongrass.
- 3 pounds coarse salt (10 cups)
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 whole striped or black bass, or branzino or other light white fish (2 pounds), scaled and cleaned
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 one-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, trimmed and sliced on the bias
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together salt, whites, and water in a bowl. Season inside of fish with pepper, and stuff with half the ginger and lemongrass. Season outside of fish with pepper. Place remaining ginger and lemongrass on top of fish. Scatter one-quarter of salt mixture on the bottom of an oval baking dish or a baking sheet to form a bed for the fish. Lay fish on top of salt, and pat remaining salt mixture tightly over top to cover entire surface, including head, leaving tail exposed.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Crack open salt crust using a spoon, exposing the fish. Transfer to a serving plate, and serve with lime wedges.