Seabass in a herb salt crust

Also known as the recipe with the hammer. The herb salt crust becomes so hard during baking that you need a hammer to break it. The herb salt crust keeps the fish juicy while subtly infusing herb flavours. Besides, fish is a healthy alternative and perfectly fits the Mediterranean diet. All in all, it makes a special dish for a dinner party.


  • 400 g fine salt
  • 550 g sea bass, scaled and gutted
  • 500 g coarse salt
  • 6 leaves of sage, fresh
  • 6 twigs of thyme
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • some fennel green
  • 4 bayleaves
  • 3 twigs of rosemary
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • il circolo ‘extra vergine’ olive oil for drizzling


  1. Ask your fishmonger to clean the fish so it is scaled and gutted before you start.
  2. Preheat the oven  to 200°C and line an oven tray with a baking sheet.
  3. Chop the herbs and the peeled garlic clove with a blender and transfer them into a bowl. Alternatively, you can chop all the herbs and garlic with a knife and grate the lemon zest.
  4. Fill the belly of the seabass with a spoonful of the herb mix.
  5. In a bowl,  whisk the egg whites with a mixer until stiff.
  6. Gently fold the aromatic herbs into the beaten egg whites.
  7. Add a few spoons of coarse salt at the time and fold everything together.
  8. Thinly spread the salt herbmixture (about 1.5 cm) on the lined oven tray.
    Place the sea bass on the salt bed and cover it with the salt mixture, gently pressing it to make the mixture stick. Make sure that the fish is totally covered in the herb salt mixture.
  9. Place sea bass in the oven  for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the sea bass from the oven and let it rest for a few moments
  11. Break the salt crust with a small hammer or a meat tenderizer. then fillet it and serve it hot. When you have guests for dinner this might be entertaining to do at the table.
  12. Drizzle the fish with il circolo olive oil  and a little lemon juice before serving


  • Alternatively, use il circolo lemon infused olive oil for extra zesty freshness.
  • You can replace seabass with a seawater fish that has firm white meat.
  • The herb salt crust itself is not edible, although it looks very tempting.

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