Christmas Peace and Christmas Fish

I absolutely love Christmas day.  Sure, its nice to open presents and eat good food, but my favorite part of the day is doing nothing at all.  We spend the weekend before Christmas with my husband’s family, and Christmas Eve is celebrated with my family, so December 25 is blissfully reserved for the five of us.  Aside from a snowy walk to Church and back, the day is full of nothing. No places to go, people to see, or things to do.  Just us and our pajamas.

For the past few years we’ve experimented with what our family’s traditional Christmas dinner should be.  Since it is just the five of us, we don’t feel any pressure to make it overly fancy or time-consuming, but we want it to be special and a treat.  Tonight we finally found our Christmas dinner: a whole fish baked in salt.

The Snapper captured Mack’s attention and imagination.  He wanted to touch it (the eyeball, specifically), and he laughed when Chris picked the whole thing up. Perhaps it will be one of his favorite Christmas memories!

I can’t wait until next Christmas. The next 364 days will be full of radiant life and nonstop energy, but knowing that I have one day a year to snuggle on the sofa with Chris, read books to the kids while we sit on the kitchen floor, and drink prosecco at 2:30 in the afternoon keeps me going.

Salt Baked Snapper (inspired by the fish monger at Dirk’s Fish here in Chicago)

1 3-lb whole snapper

3 lbs Kosher salt

2 egg whites

Fresh herbs (we used thyme, rosemary, and flat parsley), lemon, salt, pepper

Heat oven to 475 degrees.

Rinse fish and pat dry.  Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the fish, and stuff in the herbs and lemon.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Add a generous layer of salt.  Lay fish on top.

Combine salt and egg whites in a large bowl and mix well. Coat the entire fish in a thick layer of salt/egg. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then put it in the oven.

Bake for ~30 minutes. Remove from oven and let the fish rest for 10 minutes.  Crack the salt crust and gently remove and salt and skin.

Enjoy (but watch out for bones!)

We purchased our fish from Dirk’s Fish in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Its an awesome shop and well worth a trip for any Chicagoan!

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