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Yellow Tail Snapper Baked In A Salt Crust

1 whole yellow tail snapper - (3 to 4 lbs) -- scaled, cleaned
Kosher salt -- to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper -- to taste
2 lemons -- sliced thin
2 shallots -- sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil -- plus
more for oiling baking sheet
4 egg whites -- room temperature
1 cup kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the fish and pat dry; season it inside and out with salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon, shallot, parsley, 2 tablespoons thyme, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and 1/4-cup olive oil. Place the fish on an oiled baking sheet and stuff the cavity with the lemon mixture.

In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold in the salt to make a paste then fold in the remaining thyme leaves. Smear the salt paste over the entire fish and roast for 35 to 45 minutes. The egg whites will form a hard crust. Gently crack the shell with a spoon and lift off the salt crust. Serve.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.

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