Bon Appétit : Recipe from Thalias (Siena), sea bass in a salt crust by Giuseppe Napoletano

Salt-crusted sea bass is a tasty main course in which the fish is cooked in a tasty shell made from a mixture of egg whites and salt. Cooking with salt is one of the oldest and healthiest methods which avoids the use of too many additional condiments and allows the steam produced by the fish’s natural moisture to cook it, preserving its delicate flavour and soft texture. Salt-crusted sea bass is pretty simple to prepare.


Sea bass in a salt crust

Where does it comes from ?

The oldest recipe for fish cooked in salt dates back to the fourth century BC, in the book ‘’Life of Luxury’’ by Archestratus. The recipe calls for a whole, round white fish, such as sea bass, snapper or sea bream. The first recorded reference in China similar to this salt-crust cooking technique is Dong Jing salt-cooked chicken, in Guangdong province, during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). This method can be considered as a combination of the salt crust technique and the French ‘’en papillote’’.



Ingredients (for 4 people) in grams

Main dish

  • Sea bass: 1200
  • Salt: 1500
  • Flour: 750
  • Parsley: 100
  • Juniper berries : 7
  • Anise star : 7
  • Black pepper: 7
  • Eggs: 400
  • Basil sprigs
  • Cardamom: 7

For the sauce

  • Lemon: 45
  • Mint: 20


  • Gut the sea bass but do not scale it
  • Preheat the oven to 210°C
  • Fill the sea bass with the herbs and a few peppercorns
  • Mix the salt with the egg whites and pour half of this mixture into an oven dish
  • Place the fish on the bed of salt and cover it with the rest of the mixture to a thickness of half a centimetre
  • Place in the oven for 45 minutes

Suggestion for garnish

  • Place peeled and washed potatoes in a casserole dish
  • Add a pinch of salt and a few herbs
  • Cook over a low heat for 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: peel and chop shallots. Put them in a thick-bottomed saucepan with some little vinegar and wine and reduce by two-thirds. Over a very low heat, while whisking, gradually add the cold butter cut into small pieces to make a creamy sauce
  • Season with a pinch of salt and pepper or other ingredients of your choice


  • Remove the sea bass from the oven and leave to rest for around fifteen minutes
  • Present the dish to your guests and cut off the crust at the table, it should break easily with a knife
  • Remove the fillets and serve with butter and potatoes

Give a plus

Cambodia being the country of magnificent condiments, you may add more taste and exoticism to this recipe by using local products such as the wonderful Kampot pepper and salt and many herbs available in local markets such as moringa, kaffir lime leaves, cambodian parsley and many others.

Bon Appétit !

You don’t have time to cook, please enjoy this delicious meal in Siena Restaurant

More recipes to come in Thalias Newsletter


Facebook Comments