CHITA A LA SAL
Grilled "chita" (Peruvian white fish) cooked whole covered with salt and flamed
Notes: Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 30 min
4 servings
INGREDIENTS:
1 whole fresh 4.4 Lb. grunt scaled and gutted.
4.4 Lb. thick cooking salt.
Water.
Sauce:
0.275 Lb. butter
0.11 Lb. chopped scallions.
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PREPARATION:
Grunt is a white-fleshed fish that lives close to the rocks. It has firm flesh. The particular taste of this fish is due to its diet on seafood and hence, its high phosphorus content. When this fishis cooked in salt it becomes tastier. When using grunt in a recipe, calculate 1.1 Lb. per person. The salt has a scent of its own and changes its smell in each preparation. Cooking with salt makes fish sweat but the juices are kept inside. Japanese cooks sprinkle fish with plenty of thick salt to broil it but are not known to decorate it with the layer of salt as used in this recipe. In his restaurant, Sato uses 4 400 of salt in 45 days. He recommends using EMSAL salt because it is whiter and has a good scent.

Preheat the oven.
Place aluminium oil in the bottom of an oven tray. The foil must be large enough to wrap the grunt. Between the tray and the foil place three long strips of aluminium foil to lift the chopped fish. The strips must be strong to withstand the weight.
On the aluminium foil, put 2.2 Lb. of salt, slightly moistened. Place the fish with the slit down. Salt must not enter the open cavity.
Place the other kg of salt on top of the fish and, likewise, moisten slightly to make it slurry. Cover the fish, shaping it with the slurry paste. Wrap the fish tightly with the aluminium foil and bake in the hot oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the fish on a platter and tap off the hardened salt, removing the rest with a brush or with a piece of wrinkled paper.
Serve with a sauce mad of butter. Melt the butter at moderate temperature or leave it to blacken, if you want. Mix the butter with scallions and pour oven the fish
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NOTES AND SECRETS:
When wrapping, press the foil over the fish following its shape.
The butter sauce with scallions must be very hot. Instead of scallions, capers may be used.Trout, salmon, or "pompano" may be used. Other rock fishes may lso be cooked with this recipe.
A popular sauce in Japan is made with grated turnips, shoyu sauce, rice vinegar and chopped dry algae.
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