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Sea Salt Crusted Pickerel With Shallot Sauce

Chef Gojko Bodiroga,
Restaurant Dubrovnik

A unique way to enjoy our province’s most noted fish. The coarse salt is less a flavour enhancer than an environment in which the fish will cook evenly and remain moist. This technique can be used with any whole, gutted fish.

1 whole pickerel, 18″ long, cleaned and gutted
3 kg course sea salt
3 kg fine salt
6 egg whites
1 cup water
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 bulb fennel, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 leek, sliced
2 sprigs thyme

8 medium shallots, diced
60g butter
2 Tbsp dry white wine
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 cups whipping cream

1. In a large bowl, combine salt, egg whites and water. Mix thoroughly.
2. Stuff cavity with herbs, lemon and fennel.
3. On a large baking sheet, pour 1/3 salt mixture in a bed the size of the fish. Place fish on top and cover with remaining salt.
4. Form a fish shape by pressing salt into fish and imprinting with a spoon for the scales and peppercorns for eyes.
5. Bake in a 300˚F oven for 2 ½ hours. Do not overcook—Chef Gojko says it’s better to serve the fish undercooked, than overcooked. The texture of the overdone fish will be compromised.

1. In a small saucepan, sauté shallots in butter until translucent.
2. Add mustard, white wine and cream. Reduce over medium heat by 40%.
3. Season with salt and pepper and pass mixture through a fine sieve. Set aside.

Serving the Fish
1. With the tip of a sharp knife and a mallet, crack through the salt crust— being careful not to pierce the skin. Remove the fish from the salt crust and serve with shallot sauce.
Yield 6 servings

Yield 12 servings

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