|Photos by Steve Shanahan|
1.4 kg white fish
3 kg of cooking salt
4 egg whites
2 bunches of fresh whole herbs, any combination of thyme, parsley, sage or oregano
Heat the BBQ or oven to around 220C.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with 3 tbsp of water, mixing till just slightly foamy. Add the salt to the egg whites and combine with your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. Before putting the fish into the pan place a layer of salt, about 1 cm thick, underneath where the fish will lay. Make this the length of the fish. Then place the patted and dried fish on top of this layer of salt. Cut 1 of the lemons into slices and place inside the fish cavity along with the whole herbs. Pat the remaining salt around the fish until you have the fish sealed inside the salt crust which should be about 1cm thick. Sprinkle a little water over the top of the salt with your fingers to set. The fish should be sealed within the salt crust to allow it to steam and retain moisture.
Cooking the Fish
I generally use only 2 of the 3 barbeque burners and place the fish in the centre of the barbeque with the hood closed. The time required for salt crusted fish is approximately 25 minutes per kilogram. When cooked, let it sit for about 10 minutes before lifting away the salt using a small hammer and chisel. The salt should come away in large pieces and if the skin does not come off with the salt it will peel off easily to expose the moist flesh beneath.