3-1. Specialities of the Valdinievole


Branzino al sale (Sea bass under salt)

Why this salt coating of the fish makes such a difference to the taste is difficult to understand; the bass turns out delicate and moist, in no way salty. But the presentation is lovely; the golden-brown crust breaks open easily and the fish is served filleted.

Serves 2

800g sea bass fillet
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
400g coarse sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1 small wine glass of white wine

Clean the fish, put rosemary and pepper inside and place in an oiled oval baking dish. Heat the oven to 220C. In a large bowl, mix the salt together with the beaten egg. Coat the entire top of the fish with the salt, making a thick crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and pour the wine around the fish, not on the salt. Replace, and bake for another 10 minutes. By this time the salt should have taken on a golden colour. Remove from oven and pour off any remaining liquid.

At the table, gently remove the crust in one piece (or broken, it doesn’t matter), slip off the skin and fillet the fish.


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