You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to make salt baked fish… And the results are an incredibly moist and well-seasoned fish with a gorgeous presentation!
This post is sponsored by Morton Salt, but as usual, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting We are not Martha!
When was the last time you entered the kitchen just a little nervous for your next cooking or baking endeavor? That’s exactly how I felt when I decided to tackle salt baked fish. I had heard about salt baking fish and had seen beautiful photos of salt baked fish, but I had never even thought about doing it for myself.
Until Morton Salt released their new Alexa skill, the Salting Sous Chef, and made it seem so ridiculously easy that I decided to just go for it! My mom came along for the adventure since she had never made salt baked fish either and we spent a wonderful day in the kitchen.
I’ve recently become slightly obsessed with salting my food, but I have a lot to learn in terms of when to add salt to various foods, what kind of salt to use for different foods, etc. Morton’s Salting Sous Chef is here to help uncover all of that! You can either tell the app what you want to cook or just ask it for a salting tip.
We keep one of our Echoes right in the kitchen (mainly because I like to have dance parties when I’m cooking) and this is an app I can definitely see myself using on the regular so I can always make sure I’m salting my food correctly. Check out my video tutorial at the end of this post to see exactly how the app works!
But first, let’s talk about fish, baby.
WHY SALT BAKE FISH
You may be wondering why the heck anyone would want to take a whole fish, cover it in salt, and bake it, right? Well besides the fact that it looks really pretty (obvi. quite important), the salt coating helps the heat of the oven cook the delicate fish evenly and gently without added cooking oils.
The end result is a super moist fish that’s perfectly seasoned. And no, it’s not overly salty because the fish’s skin adds a layer of protection. This technique is seriously awesome.
BUYING WHOLE FISH
If you’re like me, you’re probably used to going to the grocery store and buying your fish already cut into filets. Working with whole fish can be intimidating if it’s your first time, but you can have the fish monger do most of the work, so it’s not as daunting.
Obviously, you’ll first have to make sure your local store sells whole fish, but if not, you can likely call ahead and ask the fish monger to save some for you. I recommend asking them to clean and gut the fish for you, so you don’t have to do it yourself and by the time you bring it home, it’s ready for you to get cooking.
This was my first time ever preparing whole fish and I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was.
I got a 1-pound branzino and a 1.5-pound red snapper.
SALT BAKED FISH RECIPE
But before I could do anything, I had to ask Morton’s Salting Sous Chef what I was doing and which kind of salt I should be using for my salt baked fish.
Alexa told me to stuff my fish with herbs, but I decided to add some other fun stuff, too. For the red snapper, I used grapefruit, lime, and mint.
And for the branzino, I used onion, lemon, and parsley. Because the fish monger prepared the fish, literally all I had to do was stuff it.
Then I got the salt mixture prepped, which just consists of Morton Coarse Kosher Salt and egg whites. How much salt and how many egg whites you need will obviously depend on the size of your fish and for my just under 3 pounds of fish, I found 6 cups of salt (a 3-lb. box) and 6 egg whites worked well.
You’ll want to mix the salt and egg whites together until the texture is like wet sand.
And then it’s time to cover your fish in the salt mixture! I made a salt bed for each fish on a baking sheet and then continued using the mixture to coat each of the fish completely.
And bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the salt is starting to turn golden.
Let the fish cool slightly, for about 5 minutes… And then for the fun part! Crack that salt coating off. You can use any kind of mallet for this; I used the kind you’d use for crabs at a crab bake.
How you serve the salt baked fish is totally up to you. I just think it looks so beautiful on the pan like this and if you’re having company, you may want to show it off to them like this.
In addition to the taste, one of the big benefits to salt baked fish is how stunning it looks when you chip the salt away.
Of course, it’s slightly awkward to serve a whole fish sitting in a bed of salt on a baking pan to your dinner party and after your guests go “oooh,” they may be like, “OK, so what now??” So after showing it off and letting your guests get some pics for Instagram, you may want to remove the skin and filet it for them.
Guess what? Everything I heard about salt baked fish is true! I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever had such a moist and well-seasoned piece of fish in my life. It was seriously melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
Who knew a 3 lb. box of kosher salt could make for such a delicious meal? And though I started off thinking this was going to be super complicated and time consuming, it ended up being incredibly easy to prep and bake. But ridiculously impressive, right? Serve it with a simple salad and it makes for the perfect light, but deliciously satisfying meal.
Thanks to the Morton Salting Sous Chef for teaching me how easy salt baked fish is! Not only does it help with specific recipes, but it also offers great tips on all things salt, including what to do if you over-salt your food. You can enable the app for your Alexa devices now!
To see how the Morton Salting Sous Chef works, check out my video:
Salt Baked Fish
- 2-3 lbs. whole fish like red snapper or branzino (either 2 smaller fish or 1 large fish), cleaned and gutted
- 1/4 grapefruit, sliced into rounds
- 1/2 lime, sliced into rounds
- 6-10 mint leaves
- 1- 3 lb. box Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
- 6 large egg whites
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Stuff fish with grapefruit slices, lime slices, and mint leaves (see recipe notes for alternative stuffing)
- In a large bowl, mix together kosher salt and egg whites until mixture resembles wet sand.
- Spread about 1 cup of the mixture on the bottom of a large baking sheet to create a "bed" for the fish. Lay the fish on the bed. Use the rest of the salt mixture to completely coat the fish, gently pressing down.
- Bake fish for about 30 minutes (or until fish has an internal temperature of about 135 degrees). Remove from oven and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Use a mallet to gently crack the salt coating away from the fish.
- Serve fish as is or remove the skin and fillet before serving.