Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Salt-baked fish stuffed with onion farofa

Salt-baked fish stuffed with onion farofa

I’ve posted several beef recipes because those are the dishes I usually cook for João. This time I’ll post a delicious recipe of something I love so much – fish.
My mom cooked fish at least once a week – she used to say that it was good for the brain. :D

Flipping through a cookbook I found this beautiful fish, made in a very unusual way – I immediately knew I had to try it. I know my grandmother roasts rump this way, using this huge amount of salt, but doing the same with fish was something totally new to me.

On the original recipe, sprigs of dill are placed inside the fish before baking it. I went for a Brazilian touch and filled the fish with farofa. You can use dill if you want to.

I knew I had achieved tremendous success when my beef-and-potato eating husband asked me when I would make this recipe again. ;)

UPDATE: Many of my dear readers asked my about farofa - it's a very traditional Brazilian dish. It may have different flavors and sometimes it's great to use leftovers that have been around for a while. Click here to know more about farofa and here to see the delicious carrot farofa I made a while ago.

Salt-baked fish stuffed with onion farofa
from Kitchen: The Best of the Best

1.5kg whole snapper, gutted but not scaled - I used "namorado", a fish with a firm and white flesh
1.5kg coarse-grained sea salt

1 large onion, finely sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
50-70g manioc flour
freshly ground pepper

Start with the farofa: heat olive oil in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden – stir every now and then so it won’t burn.
Add the parsley and the manioc flour, mix well. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Set aside to cool – the farofa has to be completely cool before you fill the fish with it.

Prepare the fish: Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Open the cavity and gently start to stuf the fish with the farofa:

Secure with string or toothpicks.
Put approximately 1/3 of the salt on the bottom of a roasting pan to just cover the metal. Carefully put the fish on the salt and then pack the remaining salt around and over it. Using your hands, sprinkle some water over the salt, just enough to lightly dampen it. Press the damp salt with your hands to firm the packing around the fish.

Bake the fish for 30 minutes (I baked mine for 50).

Remove the pan from the oven and crack the salt encasing the fish. Carefully remove the salt from the fish, using a pastry brush to brush off any loose salt. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin down the center of the fish and pull it away from the flesh. With a spatula or large knife gently remove the flesh from the fish and place on a serving platter. Serve with a baby leaf salad, lemon wedges and lemon sauce or lemon mayonnaise.

*The scales prevent the fish from absorbing the salt so it’s essential that your fish isn’t scaled when you purchase it.

Serves 4.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

So much about this recipe is new to me -- I've never cooked farofa, never baked a fish in salt. It sounds fascinating and looks delicious!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Patricia, I love fish cooked in salt - but I'm not familiar with farofa -- what is it?

Anonymous said...

I learnt a new word related to food today- farofa!

Anonymous said...

LOL! Abalone is alien to you.

Namorado, manioc flour (I wonder if it has maniacal properties?!) and farofa are alien to me :)

Valentina said...

Pat, this is yummy!! Fish could be my everyday food - I love it this much. I have already had meat covered in salt and it was just deliciuos - only the right amount of salt seems to 'filter' into the meat. I need to try it with fish. As for the farofa filling, what a great idea.Loved it.This dish has ticked all the boxes for me.

Anh said...

Yummy! I love fish, and would love to try this. But, can u tell me what manioc flour is? Can I substitute it with something else?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I don't know farola or the manioc flour but I've always loved everything I had baked in fish.
Wish I could have it for dinner.

Anonymous said...

I love this. I saw Alton Brown make a salt baked fish on this show a few months ago and have been wanting to try it ever since. But I have to wait until I visit home and can use my mom's kitchen since we don't make meat dishes at home. Ooo! Now you have been rearing to go. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Freya said...

I've never heard of farofa either but I really want to try cooking fish in this style - looks great!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting way to cook fish! I wonder if it is the equivalent of cooking meat in a salt dough? I'll have to give it a try!

Stella said...

Let me tell you that your hubby is very lucky!!

sher said...

I could eat fish everyday!! That looks marvelous.

And no wonder you make those fabulous cakes look so beautiful--you have artist's hands. I have a field worker's hands. :):) That's why my cakes look so rough.

Anonymous said...

I love fish, but my fish always comes boneless and skinless... I don't know if I could do this one!
Looks great though :)

Anonymous said...

This looks terrific! My aunt and uncle have a restaurant where they do a fish baked in a salt crust and I've always been curious to try it've made it sound quite easy and super delicious at the same time! :)

Although not in a salt crust, I just made a stuffed (kinda) fish myself! Also with onions :) Coincidence! I must try farofa also...sounds really good!

Gattina Cheung said...

beautiful beautiful!!! And what I great cooking tip of leaving the scales on! My husband is also not a big fan of seafood, but I know this recipe will convert him!

Lis said...

Oh wow! That fish looks heavenly!! I love fish and make it often, but I've never went this route.. I've seen many celeb chefs do it, but now that I've seen how easy it was in your kitchen, I must try it! =)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lydia, I feel the same way most times I visit your wonderful pantry - I'm always learning things from you!

T.W., I've posted an update about farofa. I hope you like it!

Tigerfish, it's a very Brazilian word! :D

Pablopabla, see? That's one of the many things I love about blogging - we're always learning new things!

Tina, my dear friend, I will cook beef this way soon, João is very interested in it. I think you'll like the farofa a lot.

Anh, I've posted a good link about farofa, I think it'll be useful for you.

Tanna, if you ever come to Brazil I'd be glad to have you over for dinner. :D

Ari, I think you'll like it, sweetie!

Freya, it's a great way of cooking - even kind of dramatic. lol

Ellie, the fish is really tender and moist. Delicious!

Valentina, thank you, dear!! (I'm blushing right now). ;)

Sher, you are so sweet!! Don't let the photo fool you - these hands are full of scars. :D

Kristen, I think you can do anything - anything at all. ;)

Joey, it looks like it's a lot of work but it's not!
Hey, that fish of yours sounds phenomenal!

Gattina, my fingers are crossed, sweetie!!

Lis, it's easy and it looks fancy - perfect recipe. ;)

Anonymous said...

this dish is so new and exotic to me. maybe listening to Adriana Cancalhotto while eating the dish would help :)
the technique of encasing the fish in salt, reminds me of a chinese dish called beggar's chicken, which enclosed the chicken in a some kind of mud ;)

Term Papers said...

It's a very traditional Brazilian dish. It may have different flavors and sometimes it's great to use leftovers that have been around for a while.

Term papers

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