Gary Townsend’s recipe: Baked sea bass with salty meringue – a dish as old as mankind

Sea bass baked in a salt crust is a simple recipe with an impressive presentation and flavor. The technique has its roots in the mists of time. Coating a delicate fish with salt helps it cook evenly and results in a perfectly seasoned super flaky fish

Ingredients (for 2 people)

1 whole sea bass (scaled and gutted, but left whole)

25g fresh thyme

1 lemon, sliced

210g egg whites

500g fine salt

Method

Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan/Gas Mark 6

First prepare the fish by washing it under cold water, inside the cavity and wiping it with a cloth. Then, fill the cavity with the slices of thyme and lemon.

Choose a baking sheet large enough for the fish and line it with parchment paper.

To prepare the salt crust, take a large bowl and using an electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they start to foam then gradually add the salt little by little. little.

Place a third of the mixture on the baking tray (in the shape of a fish) and place the sea bass on it. Then use the remaining salt mixture to encase the fish in the crust. Make sure the bass is completely covered and use a spatula to shape around the fish.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the crust is crispy and lightly browned.

Use the back of a knife to break up the crust and remove the whole thing from the fish – it should come off in large chunks. Then just peel and fillet the fish to serve.

It will go perfectly with buttered jersey royal potatoes.

Gary Townsend is the head chef at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow