Salt-baking creates a private steam room for the fish, trapping its moisture. The result is a softly steamed fish that is extremely tender. It is delicious topped with a sage butter sauce. If can't get rainbow trout, you can use snapper, pearl perch, bream or any other white-fleshed, plate-sized fish. It is, however, much better with a sweetwater fish.
1kg coarse-grain rock salt
1kg fine rock salt
3 egg whites, whipped
4 whole rainbow trout, 300-400g
1 lemon, sliced into 4 rings
200g salted butter
10 sage leaves
1½ lemons, juiced
salt and pepper
1tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
700ml chicken stock
700g chat potatoes, sliced into discs 1cm thick
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
1 bunch shallots, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 190°C. Mix the rock salts in a large bowl. Add egg whites and water and mix until well combined. Cover the bottom of a tray with a layer of salt, then place each trout on the tray and pack salt around its body, making sure to cover the mid-section of each fish. Wedge a slice of lemon behind the gill plates. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Place a small frying pan on high heat and add the butter and sage. Cook until the butter turns a nutty brown colour. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Wait until the ingredients settle. To serve, spoon generously over the trout after peeling away the salt.
Place a large saucepan on high heat and sweat the olive oil and garlic before adding the chicken stock. Bring to boil then add the potatoes. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft (approximately 20 minutes). Wait for the stock to reduce to a sauce, then add the lemon juice, zest, dill and shallots. Season with salt and pepper.
Be careful not to burn the butter sauce. You want a nutty flavour to develop; a burnt flavour will overpower the trout.