This is more about technique than about the "recipe", although it is very tasty. This method can be used for any number of fish, preferably whole fish. I have used Red Snapper here because it is readily available in my area. Mahi Mahi and Sea Bass also work very well with this technique. The herbs used here are suggestive and can be changed to your liking. This method may also be used with a variety of meats, but (obviously) the ingredients and cooking times would change. —Chef Lisa
Red Snapper, cleaned but left whole
Fennel bulb, finely shaved
Lemon, thinly sliced
Leeks, thinly sliced (whites only)
Sorrel leaves, finely chopped (or if unavailable, use parsely)
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a jellyroll pan with heavy foil. If the pan is not quite large enough to fit your entire fish, you will leave the tail fin and mouth of the fish exposed and center the body of the fish on the pan later.
Have your fishmonger clean the fish. If the fins are left on, cut them off with kitchen shears. Wash the fish under cool water and pat dry. Set the fish aside.
In large bowl, whisk the egg whites and water to very soft peaks. Slowly add the salt and mix well.
Place 1/3 of the egg-salt mixture on the jellyroll pan. Line the inside of the fish with the fennel, leeks, lemon, sorrel leaves and peppercorns. Wrap the fish in cheesecloth (for easy removal) and center it on the jellyroll pan.
Cover the entire fish with the remaining egg-salt mixture, creating a seal. Bake it in the pre-heated oven until the egg-salt mixture turns light brown, about 30 minutes.
Once removed from the oven, the egg-salt mixture is ready to be "cracked". For this, use a meat mallet or hammer. Strike the crust, but be careful not to pierce the fish. Scrape away the salt sheets and gently remove the fish, discarding the cheesecloth. Serve on warm platter.