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Volcano Salt Baked Red Snapper

    • Prep Time: +/- One Hour
    • Cook Time: 40-45 Minutes
    • Serve Time: 10 Minutes

    Charred baby carrots, borneo chili paste, carrot top chimichurri


    Recently I was introduced to this special salt through a vendor who specialises in finding obscure ingredients from all over the archipelago. This salt comes from 100’s of meters below ground at the base of Gunung Kendeng- central Java.

    Salt water has been trapped underground from a natural spring for millions of years in this region. The local people have been harvesting it pre Dutch colonial times. Due to the location of the salt water, the process of making the salt is much more difficult than that of ocean salt.

    It starts with lowering a bucket tied on a rope 100’s of meters below the earth’s surface through a mine. Then one by one lifting the bucket up through to the surface full of heavy ancient salt water.

    The salt water is then poured into split bamboo trough’s and left to dry under the hot Java sun. The entire process takes several weeks with an end result in a high mineral content, 100% organic salt.

    *Note, this is a very rare & special salt. The following recipe is easily adaptable by substituting your favourite organic sea salt. Don’t panic, just keep it organic!

    Images of the salt mining process:

    To prepare the Volcano Salt Baked Red Snapper:

    • 1 large
    • 800 grams
    • 6ea.
    • 3ea.
    • pinch
    • 1 kilo
    • 3 ea.
    • 1 gram
    • 1 gram
    • 3 ea.
    • Sheet Pan Parchment Paper (may substitute aluminium foil.) Oven, pre heated 200 degrees Celsius
    • Remove the scales, fins, guts and gills from the red snapper. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
    • In a large mixing bowl combine the sea salt with spices, mix thoroughly.
    • Add the egg whites and combine making a semi dry paste. *note an additional egg white or touch of water may be necessary depending on the humidity of your environment.
    • The final texture should be that of a malleable dough like sand.
    • Place the parchment paper or aluminium foil on a flat sheet pan.
    • Lightly season the fish with salt and white pepper on the inside of the cavity.
    • Stuff with thyme sprigs and citrus slices.
    • Wrap the snapper completely in the banana leaves.
    • Press a firm layer of prepared sea salt on the bottom of the sheet tray- the size of the fish.
    • Place the banana leaf wrapped fish on top of the sea salt, continue to cover evenly with the remaining sea salt.
    • Press the sea salt firmly on to the fish ensuring the entire fish is covered evenly without any cracks.
    • Gently place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes. Once ready, the sea salt should have baked into a firm shell which is slightly brown in colour.
    • Remove the salt baked fish from the oven and transfer to a banana leaf lined serving platter.

    Borneo Chili Paste/ Charred Baby Carrots

    • 350 grams
    • 10 grams
    • 1ea.
    • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
    • Place the chili peppers on a parchment lined sheet pan and toast. Note, this takes about 3 minutes. Just until you can smell the chilies and they “begin” to turn a light brick red colour.
    • Remove the toasted chilies from the oven and transfer to a cold sheet pan to cool and stop the cooking.
    • Once the chili peppers have completely cooled place them in a blender with the toasted cumin, coriander and cracked black pepper.
    • Add the garlic and red wine vinegar.
    • Begin to process the chilies into a past by slowly drizzling in first the olive oil and then the extra virgin olive oil.
    • Turn off the blender and season with a touch of salt to taste.
    • Store the guajillo chili paste in a jar for up to one month in the refrigerator. Note this goes great on almost any type of grilled meat: chicken, lamb, steaks even dense fish so don’t be afraid to make too much. You can always find a half consumed jar of this in my fridge!

    While the fish is cooking prepare the baby carrots.

    • Blanch the carrots in boiling salted water first then and ice bath to shock the cooking process.
    • Remove the carrots from the shock water and let dry on paper towels.
    • Transfer to a mixing bowl and cover generously with the chili paste. Let sit for 10 minutes.
    • Season with salt and white pepper.
    • Place on a hot grill to char and heat evenly throughout.
    • Remove from the grill and place back in the mixing bowl they were originally in.
    • Just before serving, toss with watercress and fresh lime juice.
    • Serve immediately with the fish and carrot top chimichurri. Recipe to follow:

    Carrot Top Chimichurri Recipe:

    • 60 grams
    • 20 grams
    • 5 grams
    • 8 grams
    • 15 grams
    • 1 gram
    • 0.5 grams
    • pinch
    • 3ea.
    • 30ml
    • 60ml
    • 30ml
    • To taste
    • To taste
    • In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season to taste with salt and white pepper.
    • Store in a glass jar refrigerated until ready to use. Note: This can be stored for up to three days in your fridge.
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