Salt Baked Branzino

March 24, 2014

My husband is not a fan of fish. I’m still baffled by his distaste to this day – I mean, if there was a single food group I couldn’t bear giving up, it would hands down be seafood. So I knew I was onto something good when I recently tried converting him (for the umpteenth time) with an uncomplicated yet impressive branzino recipe, stuffed with lemon and thyme and baked in a crust of salt. He loved it. Score! The pure simplicity of this recipe brings out the delicate, fresh flavor of this European sea bass. And the method of baking it in a salt crust seals in the juices infusing just a hint of saltiness. Yum.



  • 2 whole & cleaned branzino at 1 – 1 1/4 lbs each
  • 1 3lb box of kosher salt
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 lemon
  • thyme


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut lemon into slices and then halve them. Stuff cavity of each whole fish with a couple of thyme sprigs and a few halved lemon slices.


Empty the box of kosher salt into a large mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites to a soft peak and then fold into the salt, making a wet sand-like mixture.


Spread an even layer of the salt mixture on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.


Lay the fish on top of the salt, laying them belly to belly.


Start spreading on the salt, gently packing it around the fish.


Make sure the fish is completely covered with an even layer of salt mixture.


Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part, right behind the head – the temperature should read 135 degrees. Let the fish rest for 10 minutes. With the back of  a large spoon, give the salt shell a good whack and start peeling the crust away.


Use a brush to help brush away any excess salt.


Pull skin from top of the fish and carefully lift the top fillets from bones and transfer to plate. Lift and discard bones. Then, gently lift the bottom fillets from skin and plate. Simply serve with a drizzle of your best olive oil and enjoy.


(images by HonestlyYUM)


I made this recipe last night with a 4 1/2 pound grouper I cooked it to 140° which was perfect love it

Looks good! But I couldn’t bear using so much salt for just one recipe; it seems wasteful. Is there another way to use it?

I love fish too, but my dad won’t eat it, except tuna out of a can. Even when I make fresh tuna he won’t touch it. Go figure! This is such a lovely presentation!

I’ve been dying to try out a branzino recipe and now I have a great one! Can’t wait to try this out!

I agree with you — I love fish! I don’t understand why so many people dislike it as it’s one of my favorite foods. This recipe looks amazing, and I think I’m definitely going to have to give it a shot soon.

Rustic methods are just so lovely. I’ve never done a salt-baked fish before.
Looks like dinner TOnight!

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