Black Sea Bass Baked in a Salt Crust | Italian Recipes | PBS Food

Black Sea Bass Baked in a Salt Crust

This recipe was tested with Black Sea Bass and Dorade Royale, which has the same shape as sea bass. Watch Mary Ann Esposito make Black Sea Bass Baked in a Salt Crust at!


Cook time: 30 Minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings



  • 2 each fresh black sea bass, about 1 1/4 pounds (upto 1 1/2 ) - whole, bone-in, head on
  • To stuff the fish:
  • 1/2 small leek, very thinly sliced and washed (youcan substitute onion)
  • 1/2 lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece fresh ginger, peeled and verythinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt Crust:
  • 10 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 8 cups Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup water (approximately)
  • 1 black olive for the eyes
  • To serve:
  • Lemon wedges
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Italian parsley or other herbs to garnish the platter


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Using a pair of shears or a sharp knife, trim the fish of all fins. Also, check tosee that all the scales are removed.
  3. Prepare the vegetables to place inside the cavity of the fish. Sprinkle fresh black pepper into the cavity and a little around the outside of the fish. Layer the ginger, lemon, leeks and sprigs of thyme loosely inside the fish. Do not over stuff it. This is for aromatic purposes only.
  4. Ina mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and add the salt. Stir and add just enough water (about 3/4 cup) to make the salt mix soft enough to smooth out.
  5. Linea baking sheet or roasting pan with parchment paper (double pieces) or aluminum foil. Place a layer of the salt mix, about 1/3 inch thick, in the shape of the fish only a little wider, on the paper. Place the fish on top and now cover the top and sides with the salt mix (1/3 inch thick). Make sure the entire fish is sealed - top, bottom & sides - so that it is hermetically sealed. Smooth the crust on top of the fish - you can wet your hands a little to help with this. Use a pairing knife to decorate the fish by making small semi-circles that resemble scales. Use a slice of olive to make the fish's eye. Refrigerate until ready to bake. (You can prepare this up to an hour before you bake it -longer than that may cause the fish to be overly salty.)
  6. Bake for exactly 30 minutes. The crust will turn a nice golden brown. Present the whole fish in its crust to your guests.
  7. Cut around the circumference of the fish and remove the top crust in one piece.Lift the fish out of the bottom crust and place on a platter. Serve with fruity olive oil and lemon wedges.