Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Salt Crusted Whole Tulibee & Steamed Perch

There's more than one way to cook a fish and some processes outshine others depending on the species and season. Food is so much more than just sustenance to me, it's experiences shared, relationships built and doors opened. I've taken a lot from other cultures as far as my cooking life is concerned and that is often evident in my fish preparations. Battered and deep fried fish is always a favorite but cooking fish whole yields more meat and that is usually my preference. Winter can produce great quality fish and seems to be the time of year I will be more inclined to keep a few, I don't know if it's the cold water, but few things compare to fresh caught, cleaned and cooked fish from an iced over Canadian lake.
We ended up keeping a few tulibee for the smoker from our last trip out and I decided to try cooking one for a few friends. Why not salt crusted in the oven I had thought, I've seen it on cooking shows before and it seemed easy enough. It's a simple process with an awesome presentation, but really was trying something for the first time with company a good idea? You bet it was! I had a few perch to steam whole asian inspired as an appetizer (ginger, green onions, soy sauce, chinese cooking wine, chinese vinegar and black pepper, marinade for 30 minutes then steam with the juices for roughly 15 minutes). It's always a hit and they were eaten down to the bones before the main course came out of the oven. Reserving the fluids to add to some boiled chinese noodles made for a killer side dish!

The tulibee far exceeded my expectations! After 25 minutes in the oven and 10 minutes on the counter resting, we cracked the salt shell and steam poured out signalling a perfectly cooked fish. We peeled the skin off (which was quite tasty I might add) and got to picking meat off the bones like vultures. The taste was clean and subtle and the lemon and parsley added some brightness while the salt reminded everyone of salmon. (they are related loosely after all) The three fish fed seven adults along with roasted asparagus, a sesame cucumber salad and noodles. All that was left was bones and a lot of salt.

The recipe can be found above along with countless other ones with a simple search of the web.


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