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Salt Crusted Red Snapper - How to Roast Fish with a Salt Crust

Updated on December 13, 2009

Branzino in a Salt Crust

If you’re looking to do something completely different, try cooking up a whole fish in salt crust. Although you’ll use pounds of salt in the making of this dish, the finished fish will be just pleasantly seasoned and perfectly moist – the juices from the fish itself serve to do the cooking. It’s just a simple recipe that showcases the simple goodness of a fresh fish.

This is a great way to cook fish – really, if you get the fish scaled and cleaned at the fishmonger’s (it’s probably sold that way anyway) then there’s not much more to this recipe than pouring some salt on a fish and popping it in the oven.

Salt Crusted Snapper

  • A 1-2 lb red or white snapper (or sea bass)
  • 2 pounds of coarse salt (often kosher salt is sold as coarse – do not try to make this with fine grained salt – it will make the fish too salty)
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs, thyme or rosemary are very good choices here.
  • About a cup of water
  • 1 Lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 450
  2. Fill the cavity of the snapper with a few rosemary or thyme sprigs
  3. Mix together the salt with the cup of water
  4. Take out an oven safe casserole dish that closely matches the size of the fish and lay a ½ inch base of salt for the fish to rest on. Put your fish on this salt and then cover completely with the remaining salt, making sure the fish is completely covered.
  5. A 1 lb snapper, which serves about 2 people, will be done after 23 minutes at 450, a 1.5 kb fish will take 27 minutes and a 2 lb fish will take 30 minutes.
  6. When the fish has cooked, use a knife to crack the salt crust and gently move the chucks of salt-rock away from the fish. When you can get at the fish, gently transfer it to a platter and use a pastry brush to wipe away as much salt adhering to the surface as you can
  7. Transfer to serving plate, squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and serve garnished with lemons.
  8. Cut fillets at the table for serving.

Delicious! Perfectly seasoned, moist and delicious and with minimal effort on your part – also, since the fish cooks without any fat at all, this is a very healthy and low calorie method of preparation.

If you’ve never before cooked a whole fish, this is a good introduction to a better way to serve fish - Fish cooked on the bone is generally more flavorful.

Pompano Baked in Salt


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    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 8 years ago

      very informative, not into sushi

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Awesome recipe as usual, John. Thanks a bunch. Bookmarked.