In Japan, sea breams are often used for special meals for celebrations. This is for the phonetic reason. In Japanese, “sea breams” is “Tai” and “something blessing” is “Medetai”. Both have the sound of “tai”. In particular, salt-crusted sea bream is loved by many people as it looks gorgeous and tastes delicious.
Today we are going to tell you about the affection of salt-crusted sea bream and how to cook it.
History of Salt-Crusted Sea Bream
Its origin dates back to 1500s, when Japan was in the midst of the Sengoku Period and there was no such distribution channels or food storage technology (refrigerator, etc.). From these backgrounds, “salt crust roasting” was started for food preservation.
Hideyoshi Toyotomi was a renowned Japanese samurai who governed Japan in those days. At the time of Imjin War (Japanese invasions of Korea of 1592–1598), he delivered sea breams to his mother, who lived far away in an inland area. “Salt crust roasting” was actually invented at that time to maintain good flavor and improve preservation condition.
Salt crust roasting is a way to steam ingredients with moisture inside so that it will be fluffy and moist when roasted. It will not make the ingredients salty but bring out good flavor.
How to Cook
Now let’s see how to cook it actually. It would be easier than you expect, and you can try it for the New Year.
Remove gills and guts of the sea bream. Wash and drain inside the belly, and rub it with salt to spread the salt evenly.
2.Make the base of salt crust
Mix 1 kg of salt and 2 eggs. You should adjust the amount of salt depending on the size of fish.
When the salt gets solid enough to shape, move onto the next step.
3.Make salt crust on the sea bream
Put salt on a baking tray of oven and lay the sea bream, then make a salt crust on it. It would be good to place herbs under the sea bream such as persimmon leaves, Shiso leaves and thyme leaves. The oven should be pre-heated to 200℃.
When making the salt crust, it will look better if you shape it like fish or make patterns on top.
Make sure to put it in the oven within 5 minutes after completing the salt crust; otherwise, too much salt will soak into the fish and it will be too salty.
4.Roast in the oven
Roast it in the oven at 200℃ for 20-30 minutes. When the salt crust turns golden brown, it’s done! Break it with a wooden hammer to eat the fish inside.
Salt-crusted sea beam looks gorgeous and wild, but cooking is not as difficult as you expect. Sea bream steamed in a salt crust must be delicious. Other than sea bream, any white-flesh fish or even meat will be good for salt crust roasting.
Let’s try cooking the special dish for the New Year!