Whole Salt-Roasted Snapper with Artichokes and Lemon Allioli

When Tucker's Uncle Scott came to town, we prepared a small Spanish feast of whole salt-roasted snapper with a lemon alioli, artichokes, and roasted potatoes and cauliflower. This technique of roasting the whole fish in the salt made the fish stay really moist and not get dried out. The salt doesn't actually get into the meat of the fish, so it doesn't get too salty.

**A note on my spelling of allioli: Allioli (or all-i-oli) is a traditional catalan mayonnaise that I fell in love with when I lived in Spain. Most people spell allioli as aïoli, but in Catalan it is spelled allioli, meaning garlic and oil. Don't believe me? Read up on Wikipedia.

Whole Salt-Roasted Snapper with Artichokes and Lemon Allioli
adapted from Epicurious

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large egg yolks
fresh lemon juice

12 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 pounds coarse salt
1 cup water
a 2-pound whole red snapper, cleaned, leaving head and tail intact
1 lemon
fine-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 shallot peeled and chopped

3 artichokes


FOR ALLIOLI: In blender, purée garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons oil until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add yolks and lemon juice and blend until smooth. With motor running, very slowly add remaining 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons oil in thin, steady stream, blending until allïoli is thick, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a bowl stir together salt and water until combined well. On a large baking sheet spread half of salt mixture in a rectangle just larger than the red snapper and set fish on top. Halve lemon crosswise and cut 3 slices from 1 half, reserving remaining half. Insert slices into cavity of fish with whole garlic cloves and shallots. Pat remaining salt mixture over fish to cover completely and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes.

Rap all around edge of salt crust with the back of a large spoon to loosen and lift top off. Squeeze juice from reserved lemon half over fish and drizzle with oil.

FOR ARTICHOKES: Steam the artichokes until they are done. Serve whole with the allioli dipping sauce.


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