SALT-EN­CRUSTED BRANZINO AL SALE

RSWLiving - - Culinary -

Serves 1

2 pounds kosher salt 1 cup wa­ter 1 ta­ble­spoon herbs de Provence 1 ta­ble­spoon plus 1 tea­spoon best-qual­ity/ex­travir­gin olive oil, di­vided 1 3-pound whole branzino, cleaned with head and tail in­tact 1 tea­spoon kosher salt 1 tea­spoon freshly ground pep­per 3 bay leaves, prefer­ably fresh 10 sprigs fresh thyme 8 sprigs flat-leaf pars­ley 2 lemons, one sliced and one cut in wedges, di­vided

Pre­heat oven to 475 de­grees. Line a rimmed bak­ing sheet with a piece of foil. To pre­pare salt crust: Com­bine salt, wa­ter and herbs de Provence in a bowl, mix un­til it’s the con­sis­tency of wet sand. Spread half the salt mix­ture on the pre­pared bak­ing sheet in a rec­tan­gle just larger than the fish. To pre­pare fish: Open the fish and sea­son the inside with 1 tea­spoon each salt and pep­per. Then add a layer of half the herbs, a layer of the lemon slices and then of the re­main­ing herbs. Place the branzino on the rec­tan­gle of salt. Pat the re­main­ing salt mix­ture over the fish to cover com­pletely.

Bake the fish for 30 min­utes. Re­move from the oven and let cool for 2 min­utes. Us­ing a large spoon, rap all around the edge of the salt crust to loosen it. Re­move the salt top and care­fully re­move the skin. Use an off­set spat­ula to re­move the top fil­let from the bones and trans­fer to a warmed serv­ing plate (wipe away any stray salt). Use the spat­ula to lift away the bot­tom fil­let and place it on the plate. Gen­tly scrape off the herbs and lemon slices. Driz­zle the fil­lets with the re­main­ing 1 tea­spoon of oil and gar­nish with lemon wedges. Serve im­me­di­ately. MELOGRANO ITAL­IAN GOURMET 5971 Sil­ver King Blvd., Cape Coral; 239-214-6444, mel­o­gra­nomar­ket.com

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