Baking a whole salmon in a salt crust is a fantastic way to keep the fish moist, as it effectively steams inside the crust as it cooks. Although it may seem like a huge amount of salt, it effectively seasons the fish but hardens to a crust so is easily removed. Galton Blackiston suggests making this salt-baked salmon recipe a centrepiece, which can be cracked open in front of your guests.
There can't be many Michelin-starred chefs who started out selling homemade cakes, biscuits and preserves on a market stall in Rye in 1979. Yet, the quietly spoken, endearingly eccentric Galton Blackiston isn't like other chefs.
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Begin by cutting out a fish-shaped piece of thick cardboard, approximately 2cm larger than the salmon that you are going to cook
Wrap the cardboard with 2 layers of tin foil, place onto a baking tray and lay the fish on top
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Place the egg whites into the bowl of an electric food mixer and whisk on a high speed until medium peaks form. Alternatively, you can use an electric hand whisk or regular whisk
2 large egg whites
Gradually add the salt and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes a stiff, foam-like meringue
500g of salt
Using a palette knife, spread the mixture evenly over the whole fish, taking it right down to the foil to seal
2.5kg whole salmon
Smooth over the surface and using the edge of the palette knife, trace the head, mouth and eye of the fish. Using the end of the palette knife, press down very lightly to form ‘scales’ over the whole fish
Carefully place into the oven, being careful not to jolt it as this may cause the salt mixture to slip (if it does, just carefully patch it up)
Bake for 20 minutes, then insert a metal skewer into the thickest part of the fish for 10 seconds. The skewer should feel just hot, if it is only lukewarm the fish needs a little longer
To serve, place the fish onto a large board. Cut round the base of the crust and carefully lift it off - it should come off in one piece. Discard the crust (it is not edible) and serve the fish immediately
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