Friday, June 04, 2010

Whole Bream in a Salt Crust

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki all

There's a weekly farmer's market in our suburb, Viimsi, and there's a rather good fish stall run by Pepe Kala. The choice of fresh, cured and smoked fish is excellent, both local and imported, and we're thrilled to bits. During the winter we usually tend to buy salmon or trout - delicious and easy to prepare, but obviously a simple and non-challenging choice. So we've decided to buy some fresh whole fish (read: ungutted and unscaled) every weekend and try some new and more interesting recipes. Several friends have lined up for our Saturday Night Fish Feasts already, so the motivation is high :)

First up - a large, 2 kg carp bream (Abramis brama, 'latikas' in Estonian) that we baked under a salt crust and served with butter-fried lemon slices. You could use any other large white fish (red snapper, carp etc), if you prefer.

The serving idea came from a Finnish food magazine MAKU.

Whole Bream Roasted in Salt Crust
(Latikas soolateki all)
Serves about 4 to 6

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki allf

2 kg whole bream
2 kg coarse sea salt

1 large lemon
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Clean the fish by gutting it (i.e. remove the liver and roe and pat the insides thoroughly dry with a kitchen paper).
(We didn't bother with scaling the fish, as we were removing the salt-crusted skin before serving anyway, plus the scales protect the fish during the long roasting process).
Take a large oven dish that fits the fish snugly and spread half of the salt in the dish. Place the fish on top:

Bream / Latikas

Spread the rest of the sea salt on top of the fish (you can leave the head and the tail out):

bream in salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolakatte all

NB! Many recipes I've seen mix the sea salt with lightly whisked egg white, as this keeps the salt crust intact. I didn't need that, but you may use some whisked egg white or even water to moisten the salt before patting it over the fish.

Bake in a preheated 200 C oven for about an hour.

Before serving, cut the lemon into thick slices. Melt butter on a saucepan, add chives and pepper and place lemon slices onto the pan. Fry over moderate heat, turning once, until golden brown.

To serve, carefully remove the salt-crusted skin - you don't want the salt to come in direct contact with the tender meat.
Place the fried lemon slices on top of the fish and serve.

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki all

We served the fish with some cottage/farmers cheese salad (cheese, chopped chives, lemon juice, pepper).

Bream baked under salt crust / Ahjulatikas soolateki all

1 comment:

Heidi Park said...

I love eating fish in a salt crust. There is just nothing like it. Bravo Pille