Salt-baked Bream and Vignole

by Thyme Recipes 20 Jul 17

Salt-baked Bream and Vignole

In July's class we used one fish per person, you have the option of increasing the number of fish for the number of guests you have, or alternatively source a larger fish, such as sea bass, a small turbot, or whatever is looking freshest on the fish counter ... remember this is instinctive cookery.  Increase the recipe for the crust, doubling should suffice for a fish to feed four.  The theatre of revealing your fish from its salt-pastry casing is quite something, so don't hide in the kitchen, bring it to the table and get everyone involved.

To accompany the fish is a classic Italian braised vegetable dish with broad beans, artichokes and peas: light, seasonal and utterly delicious. Cheat's Tip: if you are short of time (or inclination) there are beautiful jarred, tinned or frozen artichokes available in the supermarkets. We recommend the frozen ... they work very well with frozen peas too, don't make life too difficult for yourself. 

Watch your wine pairings with artichokes which can drain the flavour from the very best of wines, Justerini and Brooks have suggested a Cotes du Roussillon red which our cookery school guests declared a thoughtful and surprisingly light wine to have with fish.


Salt crust:

For the fish:

For the Vignole (serves four):


For the fish:

  1. Preheat the oven 200°C /400°F / Gas 6
  2. Put all the ingredients for the salt crust in a large bowl and work together by hand, then knead the dough for no more than a couple of minutes. Divide into 2 and leave to rest for 2 hours before use.
  3. Roll out one of the pieces of dough on greaseproof paper. Place the fish on the dough and season the inside well. Add herbs and lemon if desired. Then roll out the second piece of dough, large enough to cover the fish. Brush around the fish with egg wash and lay the dough over the fish, sealing carefully all the way around. Trim any excess before placing on a baking tray.
  4. Brush with egg wash and add any decoration you would like to the top. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. You can test the fish with a probe if you wish to – it should register a temperature of around 58°C.
  5. Carefully cut around the fish and remove the crust. Place the fish on a serving platter or a board. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin along the backbone, and using a fork roll back the skin, gently removing the flesh to serve.

For the Vignole:

  1. In a large heavy saucepan, gently fry the onion and prosciutto in 2 tbsp of the oil until soft, then add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes. Add the artichokes and sweat over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. Add the peas and broad beans and enough water to moisten (about 150ml). Cook covered until the peas, beans and artichoke are tender.
  3. Stir in the parsley and mint, and season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. 
  4. Serve at room temperature. 

Salt Baked Fish


Our friends at Justerini & Brooks have made wine selections to match each course
Download our menu with wine recommendations