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Salt-crusted red snapper

Salt-crusted Red Snapper: Perfect Temps for a Unique Dish


Salt-encrusted salmon, based on the recipe “Snapper-Dome” by Alton Brown, in his book EveryDayCook, pg. 148. 


  • 1 snapper, cleaned, trimmed, and scaled, 1-2 lb
  • 2 lemons, sliced thinly
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 3 lb kosher salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • about 1/4 C water

Ingredients for salt-crusted snapper


  • Preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C).
  • Put a few slices of lemon and the parsley sprigs in the cavity of the fish. 

Stuffing the cavity of the fish

  • In a large bowl, mix the salt, egg whites, and 1/4 C water. Mix it until everything is evenly moistened. It should resemble wet sand in texture, and should be able to clump together somewhat when you squeeze a fistful of it. If it is not wet enough to clump, add a few tablespoons of water, mix, and check again. 
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  • Use about 1/3 of the salt to make a bed 1/2″ thick on a sheet pan that is roughly the size and shape of the body of the fish. The tail can hang out the back. 
  • Line the bed with lemon slices and lay the fish on the lemon and salt bed. 
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Snapper on a bed of salt and lemons

  • Insert the probe from your ChefAlarm into the thickest part of the fish. Set the high-temp alarm for 130°F (54°C).
  • Coat the fish with the remainder of the salt mixture, encasing it completely (except the tail) in salt.
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  • Place the pan in the oven and bake until the thermometer alarm sounds—about 20 minutes, depending on the size and initial temperature of your fish.
  • When the alarm sounds, use a Thermapen to verify the internal temperature by jabbing it through the salt crust. Look to be sure you don’t see any temps below 130°F (54°C) and remove the fish from the oven. 
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  • Use a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin to gently but firmly crack the salt crust. Clear away the large chunks of salt batter and brush the little bits off with a pastry brush. (A silicone brush is great for this because the silicone bristles won’t absorb any fish flavor.)
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  • Use a serrated cake server or a knife to cut a line down the spine of the fish and from the spine down around the gills. Peel the skin gently from the fish from the head towards the tail. 
  • Lift filets off the top piece of the fish and set them aside for service. Bones will come out with the meat, but they are big enough to notice and eat around. 
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  • Lift the spine out of the fish by pulling up and forward on the tail. The spine and head should come off pretty easily. Discard the parsley and lemons in the fish. 
  • Lift the remaining filet pieces out of the salt, trying to leave the skin behind. 
  • Serve!

Snapper on spinach with peppers