This dish, Italian Salt Fish for Man Food Monday, is one that Michelle and I have been talking about for a few years. She had the opportunity to have it right before we met and really loved it. We have researched it a few times, and I decided that now was a good time to make it here at home.
This is a Red Snapper that has been cleaned and prepared for cooking by our local fishmonger. All we had to do is to come home and fill him with yummy spices and cover him for cooking. All in all this was a pretty easy dish to make and it took only about 1 hour start to finish so be prepared to eat when he is done. We left his head but had the fins removed.
Italian Salt Fish for Man Food Monday
- 1 3lb red snapper
- 6 fresh lemons
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 5 lbs coarse kosher salt
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup of water
- Check to be sure that all the internals have been removed and rinse the fish.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425°.
- Slice 3 of your lemons into rounds and set aside.
- Chop the basil and set aside.
- Put the salt in large bowl and add the egg whites mixing the salt till it resembles wet beach sand. Add water if needed but do so sparingly only adding as much as needed to keep the salt coarse.
- On a cooking sheet, that is large enough to hold the fish, place a layer of parchment paper then spread a layer of salt about 1/2 inch thick. If you can use a sheet that has 1/2 inch high sides.
- Spread the chopped basil evenly inside the cavity of your fish.
- Fill the cavity with the lemon rounds.
- Place the fish on the salt covered cooking sheet
- Take the lemon rounds and stuff the cavity with them.
- Take the remaining salt and spread evenly over the fish, about 1/2 inch thick, covering the head and tail last if you want.
- Cook for 35 minutes and check the temp of the fish. You are looking for an internal temp of around 165° when checked with an instant read thermometer. If it is not at that temp cook a little longer. Remove from oven when desired temp is reached and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon strike the hardened salt till it cracks and remove the pieces from the fish being careful not to allow much to filter into the fish.
- Once the top layer of salt has been removed transfer the whole fish off the cooking sheet and onto a platter and filet to remove the bones.
You’ll notice the salt starting to brown a bit as you get closer to done. I used the same temperature gauge in the oven that I use for my grill and smoker. The salt is to be discarded, not use to season the fish. Done correctly, the salt will not act as a seasoning for the Red Snapper, and since it is a mild fish there is no need to add additional salt. Also, the fresher the fish the better it tastes so plan to cook this the same day you bring the fish home from the market if you can.
We served this with a side of whole wheat spaghetti and some fresh from the garden tomato sauce. It was delicious!
‘Till next week please take care of you and yours.
Come back soon,