Branzino al Sale – Sea Bass in Salt Crust


This recipe is one of the simplest recipes existing I think, but often the simple recipes are the ones that respect better the ingredients 🙂

There are many recipes to cook fish, but few can enhance the original fish taste like this ancient and easy technique. Indeed you need just few flavors, and the salt crust will keep the fish moist, avoiding to have dry flesh, and it will give you the possibility to fully taste just the fish flavor.

Of course, it’s very important (like always, but in this case even more) to choose a good quality fish. Moreover it’s a recipe perfect to cook fish of larger size.

I’m showing now how to cook a wild sea bass in this way, but you can use many other fish: gilt-head sea bream, dentex, amberjack, bearded umbrine, white bream, grouper, red seabream, mullet, etc. and also freshwater fish like the zander or the trout.

The best is to choose a fish of at least 1 kg, smaller fish could more easily break and/or absorb too much salt. Between 1 kg and 2 kg is the ideal choice.

The cooking time is about 30-35 minutes for a fish of about 1-1,2 kg, for a fish of 2 kg count 40 minutes at least. I use to leave a space where there is the anal fin, and when I reach the time I pull it: if it comes out easily it means the fish is cooked 🙂

Another thing: if possible don’t remove the scales from the skin, in this way it will absorb less salt. And it will be also easier to remove the skin.



  • 1 kg sea bass (or others, read above)
  • 1,5 kg coarse salt
  • 2 egg whites (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • fresh herbs (rosemary, sage leaves, thyme)
  • a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon zest (not treated), 1-2 lemons


  1. First preheat the oven at 200 °C, fan-assisted mode.
  2. Wash the fish, remove all the interiors and all the blood, then stuff it with the herbs, a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the garlic, then close the belly with some sticks.salt_crust_1
  3. Now whisk the egg whites and then mix with the salt, in this way it will be easier to adhere to the fish and it will make a harder crust. But if you prefer you can just add some little water to the salt, that’s also fine. I also use to add the lemon zest in the salt crust, and some herbs, so it will give a nice extra aroma.
  4. Take an oven tray with oven paper, make a bed of salt, place the fish on it and cover it with the remaining salt. As explained before, I use to leave a space where there is the anal fin, and when I reach the time I pull it: if it comes out easily it means the fish is cooked.salt_crust_2
  5. Bake it for about 30-35 minutes.
  6. When it’s ready take it out, wait 5 minutes and then carefully remove the salt crust, break it with the help of a larger knife and a spoon. Then remove carefully all the salt from the fish, using a brush for example.salt_crust_3
  7. Remove the skin on the top, then easily remove the upper fillet (with a spoon), then easily remove the central bone, and for last remove the second fillet. Easy 🙂
  8. Serve it simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and some grilled vegetables, or a fresh salad. Enjoy!




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