After salt-roasting our first whole fish the other week and enjoying the resulting flavorful and tender branzino, we decided to try another fish this way, this time dorade royale. It’s another Mediterranean fish that’s delicate and goes wonderfully with lemon and herb seasonings. Dorade is slightly rounder and shorter than branzino:
My husband and daughter preferred this fish, but my heart is still with the branzino, just barely. They’re both delicate, succulent, and full of flavor, and either way, we’re fans of this salt-roasting method. Have you tried it?
For more detailed instructions and photos on salt roasting a whole fish — read my previous post here on the branzino.
Salt-Roasted Whole Dorade with Lemon & Herbs
Adapted from Anne Burrell’s recipe on the Food Network
- 2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced; 1 sliced into thin rounds
- 1 bunch fresh thyme, half picked and half left whole, plus a pinch extra for garnish (or other fresh herbs of choice)
- 4 fresh bay leaves, coarsely snipped using scissors
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 9 egg whites
- 8 cups kosher salt
- Two 1-lb whole fish (roughly 450 g., such as branzino or dorade, insides cleaned and fins and gills removed with kitchen shears; we left the tail and trickier fins on and it was fine)
- High-quality olive oil, for finishing
- Preheat the oven to 450 F/ 230 C.
- In a food processor or blender, blend together the lemon juice and zest, the picked thyme, chopped bay leaves and garlic (add a bit of the egg whites if it needs more liquid to blend together); blend it until it becomes a thick paste. Add the rest of the egg whites and blend again until foamy and well incorporated (a few minutes). Then combine this mixture in a large bowl with the salt and mix well (I found doing this with clean hands worked best).
- In a baking sheet or roasting pan, spread less than half of the salt-cake mixture on the bottom, then place the fish on top. Stuff the inside of the fish with the lemon rounds and whole branches of herbs, then cover the top and sides with the remaining salt mixture. Press firmly to create a crust encasing all of the fish, ensuring there are no gaps or air bubbles.
- Roast the fish for 25 minutes; use a thermometer to poke through the salt cake in a few places to confirm the internal temperature of the fish is at a minimum of 145 degrees F (Ours was 165 at that point, and it tasted just right when we ate it). Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Use a wooden spoon or mallet to crack open the salt cake and carefully remove the fish. Use a brush or clean towel to remove any excess salt and then transfer the fish to a cutting board. Fillet the fish by first removing the skin on top, then using a butter knife to slide under the top fillet right above the spine and transferring that fillet to a plate. Remove the spine from the tail end, then use the knife to remove the bottom fillet, leaving the skin behind. Repeat for second fish.
- Drizzle just a bit of good olive oil over the fillets, garnish with a pinch of fresh herbs, and enjoy.