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Fish Baked in Coarse Salt

1 3-pound whole white-fleshed fish such as sea bass, red snapper, or bream, gutted, and gills removed. (Or 2 1-1/2 pound fish)

Freshly ground pepper

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Several sprigs of fresh tarragon, oregano, or thyme

4 egg whites

2 cups (more or less) kosher, or sea salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon or lime cut in wedges

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut and discard gills from fish, but keep fins, tail and head intact.

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Rinse fish with cold running water. Season cavity with pepper, and stuff with herbs.

Beat egg whites until they form peaks; fold the salt into the egg whites. Spread about 1/4 of the egg mixture on the bottom of an oven-proof dish just large enough to hold the fish. Place the fish on the dish and cover it completely with the remaining egg mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Bring fish to table and crack crust with a hammer; discard salt. Carefully cut fish from head to tail along center bone. Remove center bone. Cut fish into serving pieces.

Serves 4.

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