Salt-crusted Onaga


salt baked fish recipeAuthor: Chef Chris Kulis

Prep Time: 90 minutes

Number of Servings: 6-8


  • 2 lb. onaga (red snapper)
  • 1 fennel, sliced

Salt Crust:

  • 12 egg whites
  • 3 lb. kosher salt
  • 2 lb. Hawaiian ‘alaea (red) salt
  • 1 Tbsp. whole pink peppercorns
  • 1/4 c. star anise
  • 1 Tbsp. whole juniper berries
  • 1 Tbsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, minced

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Filet the fish and remove the pin bones, keeping the head and spine intact. (You will have three pieces: two filets and one skeleton.) In a mixer, whip egg whites till stiff. In a large bowl, mix spices with salts. Gently fold into egg whites to incorporate. Place one filet in baking dish, layering with half the fennel slices. Place fish spine and head on fennel and layer with rest of fennel and top with second filet. Scoop handfuls of salt mixture onto fish, sealing well, but keeping the tail and mouth of fish exposed. Place in hot oven and bake 1/2 hour.

Presentation: To serve at tableside, cut edge of salt crust and remove. Be careful of steam when removing!

Note: Fish will continue to season as long as the crust surrounds it. To avoid overly salty fish, cook promptly once the crust is in place, and remove crust promptly after cooking.


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