If you read my Vegas Uncork'd recap, you heard me raving about the fish baked in an aromatic salt crust as demonstrated by Chef Paul Bartolotta at the All-Star Interactive Luncheon, held at the Wynn/Encore.
It was truly amazing, and I will be showing that ancient seafood technique sometime in the future on Food Wishes. While I didn't go for the full fish-baked-in-salt thing here, Chef Bartolotta's recipe reminded me of a salmon dish Michele used to make for me years ago.
Thick center-cut salmon filets, skin-on, are simply placed over coarse salt, which has been liberally studded with aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, clove and star anise. As the salmon bakes on the heat absorbing and distributing salt, the aromas from the spices subtly permeate the fish.
As you'll see in the video, this is so easy and makes for a pretty impressive presentation for a dinner party. You can bring the salmon, still sitting on the aromatic salt, out to the table to serve. You can even dress up the salt more creatively than I've done here, as almost any dried herb or spice is a candidate.
This is a fun technique to play around with and see if you can come up with your own signature blend. I really hope you give it a try. Enjoy!
Ingredients: (makes enough salt mix for 4 pieces)
7-8 oz center-cut salmon filets, skin-on
2 cups coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoon whole cloves
8 whole star anise
4 cinnamon sticks, broken up