Sea bass cooked in a grey sea salt shell

To finish these few posts about salt, I would like to add a couple of recipes which are using salt in a peculiar way. Salt is used to encased the food, to protect it from heat and allow it to cook in its own flavoured vapours while transferring its essential minerals and its subtle flavour to the ingredient in the shell.
The first recipe that I would like to propose you is a traditional recipe from my home land of Brittany: le bar de ligne en croute de sel or sea bass cooked in a grey sea salt shell. So, this is how it goes:
Recipe for a nice sea bass of 1.2Kg serving four persons.
  • A whole sea bass of about 1.2Kg with its scale on.
  • a sprig of thyme.
  • a sprig of tarragon.
  • 2 slices of lemon.
  • 1 small shallots.
  • 10 sechuan peppercorns.
  • 1 egg white.
Place the salt in a large bowl and mix it well with the egg white.
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (gas mark 6, 356F).
Take a roasting tray, put a layer of salt-egg white mixture about two centimetres thick into it. Then place the fish onto the salt, stuff it with the slices of lemon, thyme, peppercorn, shallot and tarragon and cover the seabass with the salt left over in a way that the fish is fully encased into the salt.
Cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
Break the salt shell and serve with few baby potatoes and some white wine sauce or beurre blanc on the side.

“Fish in the hands of a skilled cook can become an inexhaustible source of gustatory pleasures.”
Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826). The Physiology of Taste

Gluten free, dairy free, suitable for pregnant women, nut free.


  1. Brandon said,

    I want to make an egg out of salt and then smoke it with some brisket so that it can be smashed tableside for a dramatic presentation any helpful hints on salt shells on techniques

    on 15 March, 2011  

  2. Yann_Chef said,

    Hi Brandon,
    The above recipe gives you the basic technic in salt shell making. Now, I would not think that cooking an egg in such a way will work. It takes at least 35 to 40 minutes to cook the shell. It means that your egg will be over cooked.
    Saying that you could try to wrap your egg with some slices of smoked brisket and make sure to build a very thin layer of salt to reduce the cooking time to 15-20 minutes. Give it a try before hand to get the right timing.
    Let me know how it works. I am interested to see if it works...
    Good luck.

    on 15 March, 2011