I would imagine that some might find the task of purchasing a whole fish, covering it with salt and baking it that is well, a bit odd and unconventional. Salting fish is an age-old procedure and was originally practiced for the purpose of preservation. There is great symbolism in the imagery of fish in many cultures around the world and with Easter and the Spring Equinox upon us baking a fish and serving its moist meat with a squeeze of lemon and fine olive oil is as pleasing and symbolic as any meal can be this time of year.
Choose a 2 lb fresh, gutted whole Red Snapper or Red Fish
2 lbs. Kosher salt
1 cup water
2 tbls. fine extra virgin olive oil
fresh herbs (thyme, dill, tarragon, parsley)
Preheat oven to 450°
Mix salt and water in a bowl with a fork until well-combined. Spread half of the mixture onto a large baking sheet. Place the fish on top of the salt. Insert 3 slices from the lemon into the cavity of the fish and any herbs you may have. Pat the rest of the salt on the top and sides of the fish till fish is covered. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Using a butter knife break off the salt pack, which should be hardened. This will pull off the skin as well leaving just the flesh. Turn fish over and remove the flesh from the other side. Place the fish flesh on a platter and squeeze remaining lemon juice and another tablespoon or so of olive oil.
Chef Trish Wesevich