Recipes from the Mosel – Vinter’s Breakfast (Winzerfrühstück)

Recently I posted a recipe for a Small Vinter’s Breakfast (“Kleines Winzerfrühstück”) containing eggs, potatoes and bacon. I have since found another recipe on the same website recipe – Mosel.de – for a Vintner’s Breakfast but this time using river fish.

Eating river fish is much more common in Germany than it is in my homeland, England. The following recipe uses pike-perch which I’ve never tried, although I’d imagine it would work well with something like trout. The fish is cooked in a crust made from egg whites and salt which should ensure that it remains juicy. I have not tested the recipe and would be interested in hearing from anyone who does.

Ingredients (German names of the ingredients are also shown):

  • 1 pike-perch (“Zander”)
  • 60 g of shallots (“Schalotten”)
  • 1/2 lime (“Limette”)
  • Pepper (“Pfeffer”)
  • 1/2 bunch of lemon thyme (“Zitronenthymian”)
  • 2 kg of coarse sea salt (“Grobes Meersalz”)
  • 4 egg whites (“Eiweiß”)

Preparation:

Cut the fins and head from the fish, wash it thoroughly inside and out and dab dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Peel the shallots and cut into sixths lengthways. Thinly slice the lime. Pepper the fish and fill with the shallots, half of the lime slices and the lemon thyme. Tie the fish with kitchen string to prevent the filling from falling out.

Fold a 150 cm long sheet of aluminium foil three times into a rectangle of approximately 50 cm in length to suit the size of the fish. At the narrow ends, take the corners together and fold them over creating a 3-4 cm high lip on the long sides. Place the aluminium “boat” on a baking tray lined with baking paper. The boat should be big enough to accommodate the fish with at least 1 cm space around it.

Thoroughly mix the sea salt with the egg whites. Fill the aluminium boat 1 cm high with salt and egg white mixture. Place the fish on the salt bed and top up with lime and thyme. Cover the fish all around with the remaining sea salt mixture. Press the mixture well with a spatula and smooth.

Cook in a hot oven at 200°C (gas mark 3, fan oven 180°C) on the second rack from the bottom for 30 minutes. Let the fish rest for 5 minutes. Carefully tap the crust with a heavy knife back, lift off the upper half, remove the fish, remove the kitchen string, peel off the skin and serve the fish. Decorate with pieces of salt crust.

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