- 1 1.2kg gutted and cleaned whole snapper, unscaled
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 4kg coarse rock salt
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Olive oil, to serve
cucumber & mint salad
- 3 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Step 1Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Step 2Wash the cavity of the snapper and use paper towel to pat dry.
- Step 3Use a mortar and pestle to pound the peppercorns and fennel seeds until crushed. Stir in the coriander. Use your fingers to rub 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture inside the snapper’s cavity.
- Step 4Spread half the salt over the base of a roasting pan large enough to hold the snapper (about 30 x 35cm). The salt should be at least 1cm thick. Sprinkle half the remaining spice mixture over the salt where the snapper will lie. Place the snapper on top and sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture. Cover with remaining salt, pressing it firmly around the snapper.
- Step 5Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Step 6Meanwhile, to make the cucumber & mint salad, combine the cucumber and mint in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
- Step 7Carefully remove the salt from the top of the fish. Remove the skin and discard. Use a fork and a spoon to scoop the flesh onto serving plates. Remove the backbone and serve the remaining flesh. Serve with the salad and lemon wedges, and the olive oil passed separately.
Prep: 15 mins (+ 5 mins standing time) Salt usually draws moisture out of food, but in this case, the presence of fish scales prevents this from happening. The salt crust actually helps the fish retain its moisture and succulence during cooking, while imparting a subtle saltiness.
- Author: Anneka Manning
- Image credit: Mark O'Meara & John Paul Urizar
- Publication: Australian Good Taste