A Bass in Salt

Tuzda Pişmiş Levrek Balığ

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

By Jason Goodwin

Published 2016

  • About

A fresh bass is a beautiful fish, and this is a very stylish way of cooking it whole. The thick white flakes, tinged with browns and pinks, are mouth-wateringly juicy and the whole affair is somehow sultanic in splendour.

You want a whole fish, with its head and tail, gutted but not scaled – the fresher the fish, the more scales it will retain. If they slide off en masse beneath your fingers, it is not fresh enough.


  • fresh bass, whole, about 1 kg/2 lb
  • coarse salt 1 kg/2 lb
  • lemon 1
  • black pepper


  • Find a baking dish big enough to hold it, and set the oven to 190°C.
  • Line the bottom of the baking dish with ½ inch of salt, and lay the bass on it.
  • Build a mound of salt over the fish, patting it all down neatly.
  • Bake it in the oven for an hour. The salt will have formed a hard crust, which you can break dramatically at the table. Pry off the crust and the upper layer of skin – still armoured by its scales – and flip it away.
  • Serve fillets from that side, with a bit of lemon and a scrunch of black pepper, then peel away the backbone and start in on the underside.