You’ll never cook whole fish any other way again. The lemon salt crust is wonderfully perfumy and keeps the fish amazingly moist and perfectly seasoned. 

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3-lb box kosher salt

5 large egg whites

6 large lemons, zested

2 -1 1⁄2-lb whole branzinos, gutted

8 sprigs of thyme

2 sprigs rosemary

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. . In a large bowl mix salt, eggs whites, and lemon zest.
  3. Slice 1 lemon into thin rounds and stuff the cavity of each fish with the lemon slices and herbs.
  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread a 1⁄4-inch-thick layer of the salt mixture onto the pan, just large enough to lay both fish on top.
  5. Cover fish with the rest of salt mixture, pressing down firmly to enclose the fish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until an internal temperature reads 135°F.
  7. Take out of the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
  8. Gently crack open and remove the salt crust using the back of a spoon.
  9. Pull back the first layer of skin, removing top filet.
  10. Remove the bones and repeat with the other fillet.
  11. f you want to be proper, transfer the fillets to individual plates. If not, bring the whole thing to the table and let everyone playfully pick with forks and hands.


Be sure to reserve some of the leftover salt crust on the table for sprinkling purposes.

Photography by Food styling by Chelsea Zimmer | Photography by Linda Pugliese

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