Whole snapper is stuffed with thyme, rosemary, fennel and parsley and encrusted in salt mixed with egg whites and flavored with black pepper and Sichuan pepper, then baked in the oven until flaky, tender and moist in mouthwatering gourmet recipes. Heavy cream seasoned with Sichuan pepper is served with the salt-baked fish creating a sensuous healthy dinner meal that is hard to forget.
Succulent with a naturally delicate sweetness, red snapper is a prized fish that lends well to seasoning. Its mild flesh easily absorbs the flavors of herbs and spices. Popular fish recipes in the Mediterranean, snapper is often cooked with aromatic herbs and can be steamed, baked, grilled, broiled, boiled, sautéed or fried. In this recipe, the whole fish is covered in a crust of salt to seal its moisture and flavors as it cooks in the oven. The fish steams as it bakes without drying out. The fish won’t be salty at all since the salt will harden and form into a shell after it is cooked. After baking, you need to break the shell to get to the fish. You can break it in front of guests for a dramatic presentation and then pour the Sichuan cream sauce over the fish after.
Ingredients: 1 snapper, about 1.76 lbs., 6.6 lbs. coarse salt. 1 pint egg whites, 5.5 oz. freshly ground pepper, 2 oz. + 2 oz. Sichuan pepper, 1 sprig fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs dry fennel, 1 bunch fresh parsley, heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 482 degrees F. Stuff the fish with the thyme, rosemary, fennel, and parsley. In a baking dish, blend together half the salt, egg whites, black pepper, and 2 oz. Sichuan pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Lay the fish on the salt, skin side up. Cover with the remaining salt. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the fish to sit for 5 minutes. The salt crust will be hard; you’ll need to break it to remove the fish. Blend 2 oz. of the Sichuan pepper and some heavy cream. Pour this sauce over the fish before serving.
The fish needs to be cleaned, gutted, scaled and dressed before stuffing it with the herbs. You can ask your fishmonger to do this or do it yourself if you are experiences with cleaning fish. A healthy food option, snapper is rich in essential fatty acids and contains lean protein. The time that the fish bakes will depend on how thick and how big it is. In general, bake 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. If you are using frozen fish, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using. Rinse the fish gently but well and pat it dry before stuffing and covering in salt crust.