Thursday, 27 May 2010

Dorada a la sal

In my house in Chicago there are two framed watercolours hanging on our sitting room wall. One is of the house that my family stays in near a tiny fishing village in Almería– incidentally one of my most favourite places in the world– and the other is of a Dorada skeleton. This is something my dad painted on Christmas Day, 1999. We had decided to ring in the new millennium in Spain, and so spent Christmas there as well. Deciding to go the more untraditional route with regards to Christmas lunch, we had dorada, baked in salt.

Dorada. image from M Stevens and Son

Dorada literally translated into English (according to is Gilt-head Bream. Sound familiar? I reckon even as a native Engish speaker you'd have to know a whole lot about fish to be able to identify one just from that title. Actually, dorada is very common in Spain, and in Portugal. It's a fresh-tasting, white fish similar to cod. Baking it in salt is probably one of the best ways to cook it (and I say baking it, you don't eat the salt with the fish, it all gets removed before serving). It creates a sort of kiln that allows it to be cooked almost perfectly. It also looks rather fancy so if making it for a dinner party or what have you you can make a show of removing the salt before you eat it.

The dorada in its salt shell

Dorada a la sal

2 Dorada, gutted, scales on, gills out
4 cups/2 lbs/1 kg rock salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp cold water
1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to full heat. In a large bowl, mix together the salt, eggs, water, and grated lemon rind into a thick mixture. Place about a half of this mixture onto a baking tray and form a bed for your fish.

2. Place the fish on your salt bed, then cover with the remaining salt mixture. This should create a nice shell all around the dorada, about 1-2 cm thick. Make sure that the fish is completely covered by the salt. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

3. To check whether or not the fish is cooked, stick a knife into the fish and then gently press it against your lips. If the knife is hot, then the fish is cooked. Do not take off the salt until the fish is cooked. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes.

4. Get ready– this is the fun part! With the back of a spoon, firmly tap the salt casing of the fish. If you do it right, the hardened salt casing should crack nicely and all the pieces will begin to fall off the fish. If not, gently remove them with the teaspoon, making sure not to let any salt touch the flesh of the fish. With a sharp knife, cut along the spine of the dorada, then remove off the head. The dorada should open up nicely, and you'll be able to remove all of the bones pretty easily. Serve with a big wedge of lemon.

serves 2-3.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails