Serves a Crowd

Salt Crusted Whole Fish with Blood Oranges

January  5, 2010
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

We made this last year as part of a winter citrus fiesta, in fact my profile pic is from that day. Our meal started with hummus with preserved lemons & meyer lemon juice, and a pink grapefruit, orange,black olives & red onion salad then we had a Red Snapper stuffed with blood oranges, bay leaves, rosemary, couscous with preserved lemons, olives & almonds and the finale was a meyer lemon/blood orange meringue pie with was the most lovely shade of salmon.I am a bit laissez faire about my salt crust, forgoing egg whites & measuring. You can definitely use regular oranges, tangerines or lemons when blood oranges are not in season. Amounts will depend on the size of your fish I usually go @ 3/4 of a # per person. —Aliwaks

What You'll Need
  • 1 lovely fresh whole white flesh fish, freshest seasonal
  • 1 box kosher salt (more or less)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 4-5 Blood oranges
  • 2 large branches rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves, fresh if you can
  • .5 cups best quality olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Go to a busy, generous, talkative fishmonger and find out what's good..get that, have it cleaned and scaled, (leave the head & tail on!) come home and preheat oven to 350
  2. Dump out most of the salt in a bowl add the zest of 1 blood orange, 1 lemon, the chopped rosemary and a crumbled up bay leaf mix it all up, add drips of water until it clumps but does not melt put half on a sheet pan to make a bed for your fish. If you need more add more salt
  3. Wipe your fish with a clean towel inside and out, season the cavity with salt and pepper then stuff with slices of orange, rosemary branches and bay leaves...
  4. Place stuffed fishy on his bed of salt and cover with remaining salt, shape into attractive fish shape if you must (I must) bake around 30 -40 minutes or longer depending on the size of your fish the salt crust should be hard and a bit brown about the edges. I've found this a very forgiving dish, have never really over cooked it, and it can sort of sit around for awhile when it comes out of the oven, at least until you finish you cocktails.
  5. Whack the salt crust with the back of a wooden spoon about 3 times as if it were very bad, the crust should crack and it can be peeled off easily.
  6. Whisk juice of 2 oranges & 1 lemon with best olive oil season with salt and pepper for drizzling;
  7. Presentation: A: Select a cooking vessel that is lovelier than a sheet pan, remove top crust, and herbs etc from inside the fish cavity and serve in vessel surrounded by halved oranges, rosemary branches and bay leaves for a rustic adventurous look...dig in with fingers and forks..dip or drizzle pieces of fish with blood orange/lemon/olive oil mix
  8. Presentation B: remove the top crust, carefully lift top filets, then gently pull head up the skeleton should follow , toss or save to make fish stock, carefully pull out bottom fillets from salt bed, taking care to remove all bones and skin..thinly slice blood oranges and scatter them about a serving plate. lay fish filets over the orange slices, drizzle with citrus-juice-olive oil emulsion (serve remainder on the side), toss a few whole rosemary branches on the plates for eye appeal..serve with preserved lemon couscous with almonds and green olives.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nicolas Lukac
    Nicolas Lukac
  • Ms. T
    Ms. T
  • Amy_N-B
  • shayma
  • melissav

10 Reviews

Nicolas L. July 18, 2020
So easy and delicious! I added egg whites to the salt mix (picked that up from another recipe) and it turned out great. I had my oven at 400F (for 45mins) for a 6.7lb red snapper - I’m sure a smaller fish would take less time.
Ms. T. April 5, 2011
This recipe sounds delicious and fun, and can I please come to your next winter citrus fiesta? I'm searching for recipes for my cooking club's "Citrus with a Twist" theme in a few weeks--I hope our final menu sounds as good as the one you listed above.
Amy_N-B March 9, 2010
Wow! I cannot wait to try this.
shayma January 14, 2010
blood oranges are my fave- and must pair so well with fish- a really innovative idea. congrats on getting an Editors' Picks medallion!
melissav January 6, 2010
Loved reading your recipe. Sounds like quite a fun fiesta.
aargersi January 5, 2010
yum! I have been wanting to try this salt crusting deal, and I do like a forgiving recipe that includes finishing one's cocktail and then beating the dinner with a spoon before you serve it :-) Time to BRAVE THE CRUST!!!
Aliwaks January 5, 2010
OMG Its so easy really, almost impossible to mess up. I've def left it in the oven for nearly an hour then left it on the counter for another half hour or so. The fish was still moist yummy.
aargersi January 5, 2010
prolly goes great with limoncello too :-) Mine is ALMOST READY!!
Aliwaks January 5, 2010
Yes! or a margarita with buddahcello in place of triple sec rimmed with citrus salt!! Btw am drying tangerines right now for tangerine salt, think I will mix half with korean red pepper flakes and leave half plain.
aargersi January 6, 2010
That sounds great - I should dry some tangerines too while they are in season. I seriously use those salts pretty much daily. Oooohhhhhh - tangerine salt on the edge of your buddahcello rimmed glass with a fresh squeezed lime and tangerine margarita. Yum.