Salt-Crusted Fish with Nam Jim Seafood Sauce

Serves 2

This is a favorite recipe of Hailey Trefethen’s! She says, “At my home, we love Asian food so this fish along with the accompanying Thai dipping sauce hits the spot on warm evenings. The salt crust is easier than it sounds and keeps the fish incredibly moist. The dipping sauce has some heat making it a great match for our Dry Riesling.” Adapted from Andy Ricker’s “Pok Pok”.

Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 Thai or Serrano chiles
  • cilantro stems from one bunch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Fish Ingredients

  • 1 whole fish, preferably snapper
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 egg white, beaten until foamy


  • 1Char chiles until blistered and blackened on a skillet or grill. Peel or scrape most of the skin from the chiles.
  • 2Using a mortar and pestle, pound cilantro stems and salt into a paste. Add garlic and chiles and pound again. Transfer to a bowl and add lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Set aside. Add chopped cilantro immediately before serving sauce.
  • 3Rinse and dry your fish. Smack the lemongrass a couple of times to release oils and then insert into the cavity of the fish.
  • 4Coat one side of fish with egg white and then flip onto a plate with a bed of kosher salt. Apply egg white to the other side and flip the fish. Take some of the excess salt around the fish and “pack” it onto the skin, forming a nice salt crust. Flip again and pack the other side the same way.
  • 5Place fish to cook on the grill and resist the urge to move or look at it for at least 6 mins so the crust has a chance to set. After that, gently check the bottom for a golden color.
  • 66. Use a spatula and tongs to carefully flip the fish. Grill the other side until nicely golden and fish is just cooked through, total time should be about 16-20 minutes.
  • 7To remove the crust, use a sharp knife to make an L-shaped cut just through the salt crust, starting at the tail, cutting along the back towards the gills, then down towards the bottom of the fish. Peel pack skin in one piece. Do the same on the other side and discard the crusts, they are too salty to eat.
  • 8Serve alongside some short-grain rice with Riesling and enjoy!

Other recipes you will enjoy

  • Shrimp Ceviche

  • Sichuan Shrimp Dumplings

  • Roasted Striped Bass with Meyer Lemon & Wild Fennel