Sunday, October 01, 2006

A fish tale - FISH BAKED IN SALT

I was watching a French cooking show early one morning when I saw something truly fascinating. I couldn’t understand much of the dialogue, but I could understand this simple technique:

Take a whole fish, head off. Stuff the cavity with lemon and herbs. Place it in a narrow baking pan, completely cover the fish with kosher salt and bake it. I had a fish and I had the salt so I was game to try it.

I started with a Saskatchewan northern pike caught by our friend Ed. A lot of people don’t like filleting northern pike because they have a lot of bones. This technique eliminates that problem. I stuffed the cavity with lemon slices and fresh thyme from my garden. I placed it in a long baking dish and covered it with Sifto Pickling Salt (from the salt mine at Unity, SK.). I used almost a whole 2 kg box; the fish was completely covered but for a bit of the tail. I baked it for 1.5 hours at 325 C. When it came out of the oven the salt was rock hard. I cracked it open with a knife, peeled off the skin of the fish and lifted out the flesh. It came neatly off the bones.

I have to admit, JB and I took our first bites with trepidation. Then we looked at each other and said Mmmmmmm. It was delicious! The flesh of the fish was transformed – it was meatier, tastier and less fishy than usual. Those French...

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