Salt-Baked Fish

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I ordered a whole striped bass baked in salt at Dale, a Spanish restaurant in Somerville, Massachusetts. What theater! The waiter brought it to our table on a silver platter, gave it a sharp thwack with the back of a serving spoon, then lifted away pieces of the hardened salt shell, exposing the still-steaming striper inside. He boned and fileted the fish, then portioned it out. Delicious. Afterward, I had to learn how to make salt-baked fish, and I realized that cooking it under a salt-and-herb mixture, an ancient technique, is an excellent way of preserving delicate flesh and flavor without overwhelming (or oversalting) it; also, the sealed crust insures that the fish stays moist. It's no wonder you find this method in many places all over the world. —Jody Adams, Rialto, Cambridge, Massachusetts



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