Sea Bream in Salt Crust with Artichokes á la Barigoule

Alex Mackay pares moist and succulent fish with fresh and delicately-flavoured artichokes for a Mediterranean treat
By Alex Mackay
Sea Bream in Salt Crust with Artichokes á la Barigoule
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the sea bream

  • 2x400 g sea bream, cleaned but not scaled
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1.5 kg coarse salt

For the artichokes

  • 1 large carrot, thickly sliced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 1 small bulb fennel, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 300 ml white wine
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 baby artichokes
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 bunch chives, snipped


1. Preheat your oven to 190C/gas 5.

2. Rinse and dry the sea bream well, season and set aside.

3. Lightly whisk the egg whites and mix with the coarse salt. Line a baking tray with parchment or greaseproof paper and spread about half the salt over it, making sure there is just enough space to place the fish on top.

4. Lay the sea bream on top of the salt and cover with the remaining salt, pressing the top carefully to ensure an even crust.

5. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove and rest for 5 minutes.

6. To prepare the artichokes, place all the ingredients except the artichokes, lemon and chives in a saucepan and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper slightly larger than the pan.

7. Remove the outer leaves of the artichokes one by one and pare away the green outer layer from the base of each artichoke. Trim the top leaves down until the choke (the furry centre) is visible and scoop this out with a spoon. While you are doing this, keep rubbing artichokes with lemon to stop them going brown. When you have finished each artichoke put it into the wine mixture and make sure it is covered with the greaseproof paper.

8. Once all of the artichokes are prepared, bring the mixture to the boil and simmer briskly for 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated by half and the artichokes can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the bouquet garni and keep warm.

9. To serve the fish, tap the salt crust with the blunt edge of a knife and carefully peel away the salt and the skin. Transfer the sea bream to a board and carefully remove the fillets from the bones. Place a fillet on each of 4 plates, add the chives to the artichoke mixture and spoon around the fish.

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