Sundays at La Trattoria di Francesco
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Cooking with Us
Week 1 July 12th 2020
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Branzino Sotto Sale
Salted sea bass (or sea bass) cooked in the oven is a quick and easy recipe as well as a lighter option for a second dish that creates a great scenic effect to serve on the table. Salt cooking allows for minimal cooking additions, such as oil or butter, as the fish cooks in its own fats. This makes this dish light for both digestion and calorie counting. The cooking of fish in salt crust is very old: it was 230 A.D. when Apicio talked about it in his "De Re Coquinaria" and still is performed in large kitchens as well as at home. In this case we used sea bass, but any fish can be cooked in salt crust, from snapper to sea bass. Let's discover together the recipe of sea bass that is salt baked in the oven
How to Clean the Sea Bass
1. Scale the fish by rubbing the sides several times with a scaler, or failing, with a knife, but not on the side of the blade so as to be sure not to spoil the sea bass.
To prevent scales from spreading everywhere, do this under running water. According to some, for cooking in salt, it would be better not to remove the scales, so that the skin is more resistant. Once cooked, you would have to break the crust and would not pass as much salt to the fish. However, it is also true that in this way there would be a risk of finding some scales in the dish. Whatever your preference, we continue with the cleaning of the fish.
2. With a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut the belly of the fish from the tail to the head.
3. Pull out the entrails with your hands and throw them.
4. Wash the sea bass carefully inside and outside.
***Of course you can also buy the fish already cleaned or ask the fishmonger to clean it for you.
How to Make
1. Chop a little parsley, rosemary and thyme.
2. Put in the belly of the fish a piece of garlic, a slice of lemon and the chopped herbs.
3. Whisk the egg whites and incorporate them into the coarse salt. The mixture should be creamy, if it is too thick you can add another egg white.
4. Line a baking tray with baking paper and make an even layer of no more than two centimeters with half of the mix of salt and egg whites.
5. Lay the sea bass on top, and cover with the remaining mixture, pressing with your hands to make sure it adheres well to the sea bass.
6. Place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes.
7. Once cooked, pour pure alcohol and light it on fire in safe distance.
8. Then with a wet rag and turn it off.
9. Break the crust and scrape away the salt left over the fish's skin before rolling it out and serving it on the table.
***Of course, cooking times refer to a sea bass weighing 400 grams, for larger fish you have to increase the cooking time.
1 whole branzino
big salt 1kg