21 Jan2010

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It doesn’t taste salty. Really. I was in the “bowels” of the Carbon market this morning and came across these three SUPERBLY fresh and good looking lapu-lapu’s or groupers. At PHP300 a kilo or ($3.00 a pound), they were irresistible. A quick stop to buy 2 kilos of absolutely top quality sea salt for PHP20 or 40 cents, a few chilis, a lemon and some eggs and it was time to make a salt roasted fish…

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When seafood looks this good, you don’t need to do much to it at all.

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Just clean out the guts of the fish and rinse with some water. I stuffed the cavity with some sliced lemons and chilis. We don’t have an oven in the Cebu office, so I took some aluminum foil, made a bed of salt mixed with egg whites (two egg whites for 2 kilos salt), added some slices of lemon and whole chilis and laid the fish on top. I then covered the entire fish with more lemons, chilis and a lot more salt, taking care to prevent salt from getting into the inner cavities. I then wrapped up the foil and put it over a hot charcoal fire.

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At about 1 kilo, this fish took roughly 25 minutes to cook. The bottom part became a hard crust and caramelized/burned a bit. I didn’t have to turnthe package over, and the top crust cracked a bit but the idea was to encase the fish, cook it and steam it in its own juices. The results were delicious. The fish had a dry skin but extremely moist flesh. It really wasn’t salty at all. I am not sure my addition of chilies added anything to the final dish, but it made it look interesting… Some steamed veggies on the side, a bit of olive oil to drizzle over the fish and this is a perfectly healthy and delicious meal.

Note. Photo 1 and 3 taken by A, a crew member. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Anne :-) says:

    This is the first time I’ve read about this method of cooking fish. It’s quite weird but it looks healthy to eat. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    Jan 21, 2010 | 2:39 pm

     
  2. Joyce says:

    first pic: here’s looking at you kid. the fish stare

    Jan 21, 2010 | 2:50 pm

     
  3. Edwin D. says:

    Gotta love them Lapu-lapus.

    Jan 21, 2010 | 3:00 pm

     
  4. emsy says:

    on our house, whenever we make this, the guest of honor would take the mallet and crack the fish open. good times.

    Jan 21, 2010 | 3:09 pm

     
  5. Tok says:

    MM, pwede gid ibalot sa dahon ng saging or gumamit ng ibang isda?

    Jan 21, 2010 | 3:20 pm

     
  6. atbnorge says:

    Jamie Oliver did this on a chicken in his Australian tour. Yeah…could be done with fish, too, and lapu-lapu is the fish to do it…Ang problema dito, saan ako kukuha ng lapu-lapu na ganyan ka-sariwa, waaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    Jan 21, 2010 | 3:34 pm

     
  7. melanie v. says:

    Fascinating. One would think that somehow all that salt would seep into the fish and make you come up with a giant ‘canned anchovy.’ Ang hirap talaga mag diet, ano? Love the way you find ways to make your diet taste as good as normal food. Carry on, MM. I need more of those tasty creations myself! Thanks for sharing.

    Jan 21, 2010 | 3:54 pm

     
  8. millet says:

    have always wanted to try this but have never gotten around to doing so. the fish look like they just got in from the the deep.

    Jan 21, 2010 | 5:25 pm

     
  9. denise says:

    i saw this done in Iron Chef once…I think by Bobby Flay…i didn’t know there were egg whites also…kaya pala crusty!

    Jan 21, 2010 | 6:50 pm

     
  10. Chris says:

    I’ve seen this done several times already from watching lots of cooking shows, but you’re the only one who is sensitive enough to answer what I think is an obvious and fair question–if it’s salty. I totally agree with you, when you have fresh ingredients the simpler the dish, the better.

    Jan 21, 2010 | 6:55 pm

     
  11. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Learned this (salt-encrusted fish) in Culinary School and has been part of my repertoire ever-since. I also like to make whole chicken sit on a mound of sea salt and get the same moist tender meat.

    Jan 21, 2010 | 7:02 pm

     
  12. Hershey says:

    Front picture looks like Bouchon :))

    Jan 21, 2010 | 7:24 pm

     
  13. GJO says:

    I’ve come across a victorian museum in North Yorkshire last year and there was a cooking demonstration on how they cook during victorian ages and this is one method they cook fish, bury it in sea salt and mud and cook it in an open fire. Incredible

    Jan 21, 2010 | 7:49 pm

     
  14. Tuesdayy says:

    Salt-covered grilled fish is regularly sold in Chiang Mai (Thailand) wet markets and side walks. I don’t know whether the salt is mixed with egg whites. What I have seen is that normally the fish – usually tilapia or “white tilapia” is kept in a container immersed in liquid (looked like water to me). After being taken out and while still dripping wet, the fish is covered with rock salt and then grilled straight away. The salt hardens and sticks to the scales during grilling, the cooked flesh is moist and tender and not salty at all. The usual filling for the fish cavity is lemon grass. Regular price is anywhere from 50 baht to 65 baht, depending on the size.

    Jan 21, 2010 | 9:56 pm

     
  15. kate says:

    I tried this dish before and it was really good! I thought the preparation would be really complicated but apparently it’s not (yay!). We will definitely try this at home :) Thanks, MM

    Jan 21, 2010 | 11:06 pm

     
  16. Mark Bitterman says:

    It’s super easy, miraculously doesn’t over-season the fish (sometimes you actually need to salt it after serving!) You actually don’t even need the egg whites if you are using a naturally moist salt like a French or Korean sel gris, or if you just sprinkle some water into the salt first to moisten it. It super easy, and makes just about the most delicate fish imaginable. Or try it with a rib steak!

    Jan 22, 2010 | 1:02 am

     
  17. Angie says:

    This looks so good. I love fish dishes and I want to try this. One question though, I presumed the fish wasn’t scaled? Thanks!

    Jan 22, 2010 | 2:32 am

     
  18. lorraine says:

    Hi, MM.

    This looks really good. Now if I bake it instead, what temperature would you say I should use? Thanks, MM!

    Jan 22, 2010 | 4:36 am

     
  19. Marketman says:

    lorraine, try 375 and time depends on size of fish. Angie, I did scale the lapu-lapu, though some choose not to scale it at all.

    Jan 22, 2010 | 6:17 am

     
  20. Betchay says:

    Yeah I did this once a long time ago(but no egg whites) and it was not salty.really amazing!This I think, is also what you do with “Pinaupong manok”—though you dont cover the whole chicken in salt but let the chicken sit in a mound of salt.I am guessing that the tender meat(Fish or poultry) is a result of what you call dry brining—the only difference from wet brining is the water!

    Jan 22, 2010 | 8:56 am

     
  21. isabella says:

    Dear MM,

    So yummy looking! I am fascinated by the good-looking sea -salt.where in Carbon Market is the
    store of this kind of salt?Any particular name?I want to procoure some when I go to Cebu this valentine’s Day.

    Thank you for your beautiful food ideas.

    Sincerely,

    Isabella

    Jan 22, 2010 | 10:07 am

     
  22. Kristine says:

    Oh, wow! P300 per kilo??? That would prolly be cheap already compared to Robinson’s. :)

    Jan 22, 2010 | 10:47 am

     
  23. wilde says:

    That is what you call “kinulob sa asin”.

    Saw that preparation in Lamesa Grill, kala ko nga salty, di pala.
    Thanks for sharing MM. Will definitely try that method of yours :).

    Jan 22, 2010 | 12:29 pm

     
  24. Jean says:

    My husband loves this dish and requests it every once in a while. We first had it in Spain quite a few years ago and he was so amazed when I made it for him at home. I use stripe bass or sea bass–this makes the fish taste soooo good!

    Jan 22, 2010 | 12:46 pm

     
  25. melb says:

    tried this once, unfortunately the fish was very-very salty. I don’t know really what went wrong. Maybe I should’nt scale the fish.

    Jan 22, 2010 | 1:29 pm

     
  26. Lava Bien says:

    Nice! I do mine with just chopped ginger, onions and chives and slices of lemon, ummmmm.
    I love lapu-lapu in PI better though…

    Jan 22, 2010 | 4:43 pm

     
  27. Vicky Go says:

    On the subject of fish, here’s an interesting article about Asian carp – “silverfin” – a specie considered invasive by northern states along the Mississippi & subject of an all-out effort to keep them from reaching the “LAKES” – but in Louisiana they are being promoted as good “eating” fish!

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122699283&sc=emaf

    Jan 22, 2010 | 11:23 pm

     
  28. bina says:

    with that much salt i think that ,this fish dish stil will be palatable for weeks.i gotta try this way of cooking.thanks yo.God bless.

    Jan 24, 2010 | 2:56 am

     
  29. Marketman says:

    Tok, you can encase in salt then wrap in dahon ng saging, I suppose, and yes, I suspect you can do this with lots of different types of fish.

    Jan 24, 2010 | 8:50 am

     
  30. Marketman says:

    melb, you can’t have cuts or breaks in the fish flesh/meat. Also, I stuff cavities with lemon slices and herbs or “close them off” tightly before covering with salt.

    Jan 24, 2010 | 8:52 am

     
  31. lorraine says:

    Hi, MM.

    Tried this using a red snapper. Filled the cavity with lemon, parsley, olive oil, and onions. The fish was so yummy! I never would have tried it if I didn’t see it here. Will do it again but this time, I will use striped bass (red snappers are really pricey here: $5.99/lb).
    Thanks!

    Jan 26, 2010 | 1:24 am

     
  32. Benizio says:

    Hi there, MM!

    Firstly, what a FANTASTIC site you have here!

    Well, I came upon a similar recipe featured in an Australian reality cooking show which involved a whole chicken baked inside a salt dough/crust casing. I’m an experimental cook myself so I tried using a salt crust on a whole grouper. End result was amazing cause it wasn’t dry at all. For those curious about giving it a try – encase a whole fish and your desired flavours (i.e. lemongrass, chillies, ginger, etc.) in a dough made of flour, table salt, rock salt, egg white and water. Make sure ther are no openings. bake the whole thing (~15min) and leave to rest for a few minutes. using a bread knife, cut along the middle circumference to reveal the fish inside.

    Peace \,,/,

    Jan 27, 2010 | 6:38 pm

     
  33. Lakay Bisukol says:

    inde naman siguro healthy yan, UTI ang aabutin mo pag kinain mo yan. balutin ba naman sa asin, matino kaya ang ulo ng nagluto nito?

    Feb 10, 2010 | 11:14 pm

     
  34. liana leal says:

    i do this method with mudfish or “dalag” in ilocano but with addition of kaffir leaves & ginger inside the cavities… yummy!
    and Lakay Bisukol, di po papasok ang asin sa isda, di po siya maalat pag naluto… masarap siya promise at walang dahilan para magka uti ang kakain.

    Feb 22, 2010 | 1:12 am

     
  35. paulg says:

    where can i buy local sea salt (w/o iodine)? i am making kimchi and pickles, the recipe requires sea salt without iodine. why does the govt require ALL salt be iodized but allow uniodized imported sea salt?

    Mar 9, 2011 | 12:07 am

     
  36. darzei says:

    hi can anybody tell me where i can buy local sea salt..uniodized..answer me please..:DD thankyou! :DD

    Jul 13, 2011 | 3:35 pm

     
 

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