Salt meringue baked sea bass

Sea bass cooked in salt crust is a simple recipe with an impressive presentation and flavour. The technique has its roots way back in the mists of time. Coating a delicate fish in salt helps it cook evenly and results in a super flaky fish that's perfectly seasoned

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 whole seabass (de-scaled and gutted, but left whole)

25g fresh thyme

1 lemon, cut into slices

210g egg whites

500g fine salt


Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/Gas Mark 6

First, prepare the fish by washing it under cold water, inside the cavity and patting dry with a cloth. Next, fill the cavity with the thyme and lemon slices.

Select a baking tray that is large enough for the fish and cover with greaseproof paper.

To prepare the salt crust, take a large bowl and using an electric whisk or mixer whisk the egg whites until they start to foam then gradually add the salt bit by bit.

Place a third of the mixture on the baking tray (in the shape of the fish) and place the seabass on top. Then use the remaining salt mixture to enclose the fish in the crust. Make sure the seabass is completely covered and use a spatula to shape around the fish.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and lightly golden.

Use the back of a knife to crack the crust and remove it all from the fish – it should come away in chunk. Then simply peel and fillet the fish to serve.

This will go perfectly with buttered jersey royal potatoes.

Gary Townsend is the head chef at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow