Cooking a whole fish not only makes an impressive dinner presentation, it helps preserve the natural, delicious flavors of fish. A floral and fruity Grillo from Sicilia DOC complements and completes the meal.
- 1 tablespoon ground black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- 1 3-pound cleaned scaled whole fish (such as whitefish or salmon), fins removed
- 1 cup thinly sliced leek (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 26.5-ounce boxes coarse sea salt (6 cups)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Lemon wedged
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil, overhanging the edges.
Rinse fish inside and out; pat dry. Sprinkle all of spice mixture in fish cavity. Stuff with leek and lemon slices.
Whisk egg whites and water in large bowl. Add salt. Stir until salt is evenly moistened. Spread 2 cups salt mixture in 4-inch-wide, 12-inch-long strip (or use more to equal length of fish) on prepared sheet. Place fish on salt. Cover fish completely with remaining salt mixture, pressing to seal.
Bake fish 25 minutes. Let stand in crust 10 minutes.
Using large knife, rap crust sharply to crack. Brush salt from fish. Cut into portions and serve, passing extra-virgin olive oil and lemon wedges alongside. Makes 1 serving.