Salt-Encrusted Branzino Recipe

Salt-encrusting is the perfect way to keep fish flavorful without drying it out. Try this restaurant trick at home and wow guests by serving it over a slow-cooked, Moroccan-spiced tagine.

Salt-Encrusted Branzino

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings

2 whole branzino fish
3-lb. box kosher salt
4 egg whites
3 lemons (for stuffing, juice and zest)
1/2 leek
sprinkle of chopped parsley
2-3 garlic cloves

Vegetarian Tagine
1/2 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1 zucchini
1/2 kabocha squash
1/2 leek
1 cup vegetable (or chicken) broth infused with 1 tablespoon saffron
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup cilantro stalks (keep tops for garnish)
2 tablespoon garam masala spice
1/2 cup chopped Turkish apricots
1 cup whole green olives
unsalted almonds
2 cups pearl couscous

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Score both sides of the branzino three times and stuff with garlic cloves, leeks, parsley and lemon (Image 1).
2. To make the salt mixture, combine 3-lb. box salt, 4 egg whites, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lemon juice and zest of one lemon (Image 2). Mix until there is a sandy consistency.
3. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet, and then create a 1/4-inch bed of salt on top of the parchment paper. Place the fish on top (Image 3), and use the remaining mixture to completely cover the fish (Image 4).
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until salt coat turns slightly brown (Image 5). Serve with vegetarian tagine.

Vegetarian Tagine Instructions

1. Chop garlic, onion and leeks, and saute in a tagine, or Dutch Oven, until soft (Image 1).
2. To infuse broth, add 1 tablespoon saffron to cold stock and let sit for at least 15-20 minutes. Add chopped cilantro stalks, sauteing for 3-4 more minutes
3. Add in chopped zucchini and squash, sauteing for another 4-5 minutes (Image 2), then add saffron broth (Image 3). Add tomato and spices, bringing to a boil (Image 4). Cover and cook on low for 1 hour.
4. Add chopped apricots and olives (Image 5). Stir well and cover on low for 30 minutes. Serve over couscous topped with coarsely chopped almonds and cilantro.

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