Tired of eating trout the same old way? Here’s a fun, innovative way to bake them, and not only is this method easy, it produces a deliciously steamed, moist flavorful fish. Salt crusting will work with any whole fish; try it with a fresh-caught cutthroat, kokanee or small steelhead, or get into the freezer and use up what you caught over the winter. For best results, use kosher salt. The amount of salt will vary for the size of the fish. The key with the salt crust is getting the salt moist enough with egg white and water to form around the fish without falling apart. Additional flavorings are endless, as the cavity of the fish can be stuffed with any herbs, citrus slices, garlic and/or ginger.
Two to four trout
5 cups kosher salt
Three egg whites
1 to 3 tablespoons water
GO HEAVY ON THE SALT
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary,
dill, thyme, cilantro, basil and/or sage)
One orange, lemon or lime, sliced
Additional herbs (optional)
In a large bowl, mix salt and egg whites until moistened. Add enough water for the salt mixture to stick together. Rinse and pat cleaned fish dry, inside and out. Divide herbs and citrus slices evenly among fish. Brush both sides of fish with a light coating of olive oil.
On a large baking sheet, spread a layer of the salt mixture about .-inch thick for the fish to lay on. If you have additional herbs, put a single layer of leaves on the salt, right where the fish will sit. Lay stuffed fish on top of the salt or herb layer on the baking sheet.
Mound the rest of the salt mixture on the fish and cover completely. Pack the salt down evenly and try to keep the shape of the fish intact. If there isn’t enough salt to completely cover the fish, it is fine to leave the head and/or tail exposed.
Bake fish in a preheated, 400-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until fish reaches an internal temperature of 135 to 140 degrees. If using an oven-safe thermometer, insert probe before baking so the salt crust doesn’t crack when checking the temperature.
Let fish sit five to 10 minutes before cracking the crust and removing. Skin should lift easily off the fish. Remove fish fillets from the salt crust prior to serving.