An Ancient technique devised for retaining moisture and cooking succulent meats
My mum’s salt baked chicken was famous! She made the most stunning baked chicken under an igloo of hard salt, that she would serve drizzled with our amazing olive oil alongside some roasted vegetables including roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted onion and halved garlic bulbs, roasted cauliflower, eggplants and zucchinis as well as a garlic infused roasted potato mash! Absolutely Divine! When I came back from school and found this on the table I felt all was well in the world, no matter what. Her friends always took the recipe and my aunts even called the dish it by her name! To date, I still cook that chicken and love how it really gives it a totally different flavour to any other method of baking or roasting chicken.
Years ago, when I was living in Bahrain, Oliveto, a very trendy Italian Restaurant and lounge opened there. They made the exact same dish, except with fish. My mother never made the fish one, but really it makes sense. Same technique, same results, both absolutely great. Everyone in Bahrain back then was going mad about this Salt Baked Fish. Rightly, it is a truly awesome fish bake.
This dish is delicious and very impressive. It comes with theatricals, as you get to crack the dome and allow the aromas to kick escape and kick start your taste appetite… only to flake off the fillets that are deliciously super moist. You will plate those and drizzle them with the best quality olive oil you can get your hands on and a small sprinkling of lemon and eat away! One of those things….
I was so happy yesterday when I checked my email, and one of you guys requested the “Salt-baked Fish Recipe” 🙂 I thought this is a perfect gift from my kitchen to yours… You have got to try this one, you will love it. Everyone loves it, what’s not love! When making this dish keep in mind that it is intended to be very simple. The best foods are simple foods. This dish relies on the fish, a sprig of fresh Thyme and my delicate fish and seafood spice mix that just brings out that flavour. The olive oil is essential here, it will be the decisive factor so this is the time when you bring out your best bottle and drizzle.
For the fish, go for whole Sea Bass, Red Snapper, Grouper, Blue Eye…
In Bahrain, I saw them once pouring cognac over the baked salt and lighting it up before cracking. It is more theatricals, can be done for huge celebrations, however the dish as is, is not short on the theatricals, and hence this is absolutely unnecessary.
Finally, it is worth mentioning here that this is an ancient technique known in the Mediterranean basin, as I have learnt from the video below, it is also common in South American cuisines. Go figure. The world is truly small!