But not so this year! This year I made salt-baked fish. Because fish leap. Lots of things do, really, but I haven't made fish in a while. (Alec wanted rabbit, but I'll be making rabbit coming up for Of Mice and Men.) And, we're both still healthy. Which is the ultimate goal.
But I am beginning to suspect that there may be a 10th Day of Christmas curse. Because this fish tried its damnedest to kill Alec with tiny, tiny fish bones. While I had a few in mine (which is to be expected when cooking whole fish, so watch out), his was rather ridiculous. Whoops.
I thought this was delicious. The fish is baked whole in a solid coating of sea salt. And it does not make it overly salty. Instead, the salt serves to hold in the moisture and flavor from the stuffing. And makes for a unique presentation when you crack the salt shell open with a spoon. You could switch this recipe up to add whatever spices or stuffings you would like.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten lords a-leaping...
from Serious Eats
2 whole fish, about 3/4 pound each, or 1 whole fish, 1/ 1/2 pounds (use white-fleshed fish, like sea bass, trout, sole, or bream)
10 sprigs thyme
3 slices of lemon, halved
3 c. sea salt (2 c. coarse, 1 c. fine)
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 400F. Pat the fish dry inside and out. Stuff each fish cavity with half the thyme and lemon. Lightly grease the whole outside of the fish with olive oil.
In a medium bowl, mix together the salts and the egg white with your hand. Add water a bit at a time until it reaches the consistency of wet sand that you might use to build a sand castle. It needs to be moldable and to stick together.
On an ungreased baking sheet, pat down a layer of the wet salt the size of the two fish, about 1/4" thick. Place the fish on the bed of salt and mound the remaining salt around each fish, 1/4" thick. Create a tight seal. Leave the head and tail exposed.
Bake for 30 minutes, then let rest for 10. Use the back of a spoon to crack the salt crust. Peel back the skin and lift off the top fillet. Remove the bones, then lift out the second fillet, leaving behind the skin and bottom layer of salt.
...nine ladies dancing...
... eight maids a-milking...
...seven swans a-swimming...
...six geese a-laying...
...three French hens...
...and a partridge in a pear tree.