Friday, April 28, 2006

Don’t forget to salt!

Simplify simplify simplify. Let’s make cooking really simple. This week during one of my food geek conversations with a fellow foodie, we compared out latest cook book acquisitions, discussed about how we often bought faster than we could read and basically hoarded more books rather than cooking from them. I will admit, I’m a “book hoarder”, I buy and hoard for all sorts of reasons from the frivolous such as the pictures are so pretty to the more practical ones such as those recipes are easy to follow and to cook from. Books with gorgeous photographes and food that make me want to lick the pictures of the pages are usually flipped through, drooled over, thought about and then placed back on the shelf. The main reason being, if I really wanted to successfully execute the recipe, I might have to either build myself a commercial kitchen and hire and army of kitchen help or spend a few good days sourcing for the perfect ingredients. I sometimes like painless cooking (ie. no real slaving behind the stove necessary) with perfect results. I’m pleased to share that I’ve found one fantastic fun way of cooking. All you need are 3 different items and an oven!

Fresh fish
Egg whites

I had the privilege of working with a super yummy and fresh Murray cod so that made my job even easier. The Murray cod is a freshwater fish that is found in the Marry-Darling Basin in Australia. This fish is farmed and wild forms are available but are harder to come by with over fishing. Nonetheless, sometimes it is hard to screw up when you start with good fresh ingredients. Don’t try anything stupid like putting a super complex sauce on it that make take 5 hours to make from start to finish (stock included) that would steal the attention of the ingredient’s natural flavours. Just try to bring the ingredient to life and don’t waste it, after all, it did give up its life for the purpose of being food.

Here’s the shamelessly simple recipe:

Salt Baked Murray Cod
Serves 4

1 Murray Cod
8 Egg whites
2 kg Salt


1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Using a large mixing bowl, mix egg whites and salt together until well combined.
3. Spread about one-third of the salt mixture onto the baking tray, spreading out evenly to form a 1-cm (½-in) base.
4. Place fish on salt base and cover the cod completely with remaining salt mixture. Firmly pat in salt mixture into fish.
5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes. Remove to rest for 15 minutes.
6. Crack open salt crust and clean off as much salt as possible. Transfer to a serving plate.

* This recipe is an adaptation from the Salmon baked in Salt recipe from Paul Bertolli, Cooking with Hand.

Instead of Bertolli’s recommended Prosecco sauce, I served the fish with a crispy potato gratin stacks. The two worked well together as the high butter content from the gratin was “self-saucing”.

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Blogger DownwardDog said...

HOLY COW!!! I just stumbled into your blog and I LOVE IT!!! Because I'm a foodie and love to EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT..... and I love your reviews and recipes...SLURP....

8:41 PM  
Blogger joone! said...

hello! thanks for stopping by!

5:34 PM  
Blogger kishko said...

great blog! and recipe. here (in italy) we skip the egg whites and just use rock salt. as you said, if the fish is fresh, you can't go wrong!

11:33 PM  

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