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Salt Baked Fish

Homegrown Tastes South Africa S2 Episode 7: Salt Baked Fish

Serves 4

Salt Baked Fish


For the fish:

  • 1 whole sea bass, guts removed
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2kg table salt
  • 2 cups water

For the bone marrow chilli butter:

  • 80g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 bulb garlic, roasted
  • 2 beef bone marrow, roasted, marrow removed
  • 2 teaspoons, fish spice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic and chilli paste


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. To prepare the fish, line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a bowl, mix together the salt and water until it forms a wet sand like texture. Place the lemon slices inside the fish. Rub the skin of the fish with the olive oil.
  2. Take 1/3 of the salt mixture and create a base for the fish on the prepared baking sheet, place the fish on top of this. Use the rest of the salt mixture to completely cover the fish. Place into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  3. When the fish has baked, remove the  fish from the crust and with a pastry brush, remove any excess salt.
  4. To make the butter, roast the garlic and beef bone marrow in the oven, remove the garlic from the skin and remove the marrow from the bone, in a bowl, to this add the rest of the ingredients and blend together.
  5. Add this butter to a pan allow to heat up and pour over the fish after you’ve removed it from its casing. Garnish with fresh spring onion and micro herbs.


Salt Baked Fish:

  • Baking fish in a salt coating results in a juicier flesh
  • Oiling the skin of the fish, prevents the salt crust from sticking to the fish, pulling the skin off the flesh, which in turn results in a more aesthetically pleasing presentation
  • Salt baked fish is one of those things you see done on social media or on TV shows, and think that it is a complicated process, it looks beautiful as well, but is not really that complex, it is super easy to achieve at home.
  • While roasting the salt creates a crust which hardens around the fish, bathing the fish in moisture.
  • Another benefit is that other than whole roasting a fish as usual, this method allows whatever flavourings you’ve added to permeate through the flesh, adding lots more flavour