Mediterranean Salt-Baked Sea Bass Recipe Means Moist & Flavorful Fish (30-Second Video) by Elisa Schmitz

Seafood Dinner
2 years ago

Traveling throughout Spain and Italy, one of my favorite things on the menu for dinner at local restaurants was salt-baked fish. Whenever a whole dorado, sea bass or red snapper was being baked in salt, I would order it immediately. I found that Mediterranean fish baked in salt means moist and flavorful seafood, every time. 

Spanish Chef José Andrés is the founder of World Central Kitchen, which serves chef-prepared meals to communities impacted by natural disasters and humanitarian crises, such as what is happening in Ukraine. He shared his recipe for salt-baked fish with Food & Wine.

In honor of the amazing work he is doing to help people around the world, I am sharing a variation of his recipe. If you want to support his mission, here is how you can donate to his efforts to provide fresh meals to those in need.

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4


  • 3 pounds kosher salt
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup water
  • 8 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • bay leaves
  • 2- to 3-pound whole dorado, sea bass or red snapper with scales, gutted
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt, to taste

Here's how to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking pan or casserole dish with foil. In a large bowl, mix kosher salt with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water, until it has a sand-like consistency. Strip half the rosemary and thyme sprigs and mix their leaves into bowl. Add 3 of the bay leaves.
  2. In the pan, place half of the salt mixture. Then place remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs and bay leaves on top. Lay the fish on the mixture, drizzle the juice of half a lemon, then cover fish with remaining salt mixture. Lightly pack the mixture until it covers the fish.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cooking thermometer displays 135 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Crack and discard salt crust. Remove and discard skin from top of fish. Carefully transfer top fillet to a platter. Repeat the process for other side of fish. Drizzle with olive oil and juice from the other half of the lemon. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and serve.

Notes: Watch my video to see how they serve this fabulous fish at La Fonda restaurant in Barcelona, Spain. So good! My photos below show how they serve salt-baked fish at Club del Doge restaurant in Venice, Italy. Absolutely delish!

Photo: Salt-baked dorado prepared at Club del Doge restaurant, Venice.

Photo: Cracking the salt shell.

Photo: Discarding the salt shell.

Photo: Serving the fish.

Photo: Final plating, served with simple butter potatoes.

And these photos show how they serve salt-baked fish at La Fonda restaurant in Barcelona. Amazing!

Photo: Salt-baked dorado prepared at La Fonda restaurant.

Photo: Final plating, served with simple potatoes.

Need help converting cooking and baking measurements? Here are some handy kitchen conversion charts.

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Kosher Salt $2 & Up
Bay Leaves $3 & Up
Olive Oil $4 & Up
Casserole Dishes $10 & Up
Baking Sheets $8 & Up

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Wow, that looks amazing. 🐠🐟
Elisa Schmitz
It's so delicious, and really fun to make. I hope you enjoy this recipe! #yum
I've had this before, so so so so good...

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