A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life
When we attended the Sun Winefest in January, our second stop during the Celebrity Chef Dine-Around was at the table of Todd English. I was very much looking forward to his preparation, a salt crusted halibut that was served as tacos with a variety of salsas and slaws. It was a pleasure to talk with the young men and women working to prepare and serve the dishes. I was amazed by the size of the fish they used (I want to say it was at least an 100 pound halibut) and the fact that they needed an entire case of Kosher salt for each fish.
The dish was delicious, and Todd English was a gracious host, as all the celebrities are, posing to take a photo with Meg and my aunt Donna.
The salt crusted fish served as the inspiration for my attempt last week. I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home from work and picked up a whole Bronzini. The fish monger was kind enough to gut, scale and clean up the fish for me, saving me time (and possible injuries and various other frustrations) if I had to do it myself. I also picked up a backup filet of tilapia, just in case.
Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until you get soft peaks. Whisk in the salt and pinch of chipotle powder.
Place a couple of tablespoons of the salt mixture on the baking sheet. Place the fish on top of the salt mix. Cover the fish with the remaining salt mixture. Bake the fish for about 30 minutes. The salt crust will become nicely browned. Remove the fish from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Crack the crust using a fork. Remove the skin from the fish and flake out the fish carefully removing the small bones. I served the fish along with some of my usual taco fillings: salsa, guacamole (unfortunately the avocados were all under ripe so I had to resort to a premade variety), black beans, a mix of mesculin greens and arugala and cheese. I also had some sliced lemons to add fresh lemon juice on the fish.
I would say this was a complete success. The fish was very well flavored, remaining super moist during the baking process. The lemon added a nice freshness. And while slightly more time-consuming than the usual tilapia filets I use for tacos, I will definitely give this another shot in the future.