Getting excited for warmer summer days but the weather is (quite literally) raining on your parade? Then we’ve got just the trick to get you in the mood for summer!
Grab our shopping list, go to your local supermarket and once home, put on your favorite summer playlist, open a bottle of white wine and get cooking with this fresh summer menu!
TIP: For a vegetarian/vegan take on this menu, just leave out the fish and buy a loaf of olive bread and labneh or hummus instead! For the vegan take on the pasta and salad, just swap the feta for vegan feta!
What it is:
Whole Fish Baked in Salt Crust with Peppermint Pasta & Fresh Watermelon Salad
What to buy:
Depending on how many people you are looking to enjoy this meal with, you can just add more of the ingredients. There’s really no rules and you can’t do much wrong!
For the fish
– Fresh white fish from your nearby market. Make sure you ask exactly where it’s from and check for MSC or ASC labels
– 1-2 kg Sea Salt (coarse-grained, amount varies depending on size of fish, if in doubt buy more!)
– 1 Lemon
– 4 Eggs (for egg whites)
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil (you will need enough for the other two dishes too!)
– Handful Of Fresh Herbs Of Choice (Parsley, Oregano & Thyme For Example)
For the pasta
– Italian Tagliolini (some supermarkets even stock these in a special lemon variation, which you can also order here)
– 1 pack of Feta
– Fresh Lemons
– Peppermint Leaves (which you will need again for the salad, so 1 packet will be enough)
– Pine Nuts
For the salad
– 1 pack of Feta
– Juicy Watermelon
– Peppermint Leaves (from the packet you just bought for the pasta)
– Olive Oil
How to make it:
For the fish:
1. Rinse the fish well, inside and out. Then pat it dry.
2. Preheat your oven to 220 °C.
3. Separate egg yolk from egg white and whisk the egg whites until they are foamy. Then add the salt and mix it with your hands until all the salt is coated evenly with egg.
4. Choose a large dish and spread a third of the salt-egg mixture onto it.
5. Prepare your herbs of choice and slice lemons. Fill the fish cavity with as many herbs and as much lemon as you desire.
6. Place the fish on top the salt in your dish and cover it with the remainig salt-egg mixture, creating a smooth surface and covering the fish evenly.
7. Bake the fish for about 45 minutes. If you have a thermometer at hand, you can measure the internal temperature of the fish to make sure it has baked long enough. The ideal temperature is around 57 °C.
8. Once the baking time is up, take the fish out of the oven and place it on the table. The next part of the recipe can be used to show off your incredible skills!
9. With a blunt tool, like this one, carefully crack the salt shell and remove the salt pieces (it’s a good idea to place a separate dish next to the fish to put these pieces on if your dish isn’t large enough).
10. Carefully place large sections of the flesh on guests’ plate using a large fork, and be sure to keep the salt from the flesh!
And for that little extra: Drizzle each serving with a dash of olive oil and add a twig of rosemary for effect!
What makes this process so special? While the salt doesn’t actually come in contact with the flesh of the fish (the skin that is left on forms a protective layer), the fish becomes encased in the salt crust, which results is a very tender, moist flesh.
For the pasta:
Boil water, add salty, then add the linguine. Leave as directed on the packaging until they are al dente. While the pasta is cooking, chop up the feta. If you’re making the salad too, you can already chop up both packs of feta to make it easier. Pull the peppermint leaves from their stem, and use the whole packet if you’re also making the salad. Shave the lemon, then chop it in half. In a small sauce pan, slowly roast the pine nuts on medium heat. BE VERY CAREFUL – pine nuts burn really easily, so always keep an eye on them and remove them from the stove once they are toasty brown.
Once the pasta is ready, slowly start pouring away the residue water. IMPORTANT: The secret to this recipe is definitely keeping some of the pasta water in the pan, so don’t forget to leave some in. Then add 1 packet of feta and stir. As it slowly starts to get creamy, add more to taste. The more feta you add, the creamier the sauce gets! Once you’re done, stir in the lemon shavings, pine nuts & peppermint leaves, and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice in to get that fresh summer-y taste.
For the salad:
This is definitely the easiest part. Chop up the watermelon and the feta (how much of each is totally up to you!), add some peppermint leaves and a dash of olive oil and lemon juice – done!