Before you begin you need to prepare your fish. Leave the scales on the fish to make it easier to peel off the salty skin later. Gut the fish and remove gins and gills, then rinse and pat dry.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Wood Species: Apple
Wood Type: Logs
500g Whole Gurnard
3 Egg Whites
1 Sprig Fennel Tops
Prepare your fire and get your wood oven to 220c.
Make the crust by combining the salt with the egg whites in a large bowl and mix until it resembles a wet sand sort of texture. If you like, you can add herbs and spices at this stage to the crust to add any desired flavour to the fish.
Line your baking dish with a layer of salt about 2 or 3cm thick.
Stuff the fish with slices of lemon and the fennel tops to fill out its belly cavity. Place the fish on top of the bed of salt and use the remaining salt to completely cover the fish. You can leave the head exposed as you aren’t going to eat this bit.
Bake the fish for about 20 minutes. To ensure it is nicely cooked insert a thermometer through the crust and into the thickest part of the fish and check it reads 50C. Leave it to rest for a further 5 minutes out of the oven. During this time it will cook a little more and increase by 3-5C.
Time to remove the crust. Use a serrated knife to slice around the crust avoiding cutting the fish. Lift the lid of salt off and brush off any excess with a pastry brush. Remove the skin and fillet the fish table side for added theatre.
Serve with watercress and segments of orange for a very light and fresh lunch.