Salt-and-Herb-Crusted Hogfish with Chimichurri Sauce

  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Chimichurri Sauce:

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

2/3 cup sherry vinegar 

4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons minced garlic 

2 tablespoons lemon juice 

2 tablespoons minced shallots 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

Salt-and-Herb-Crusted Hogfish:

1 whole hogfish or red snapper (about 6 1/2 pounds), cleaned and scaled

2 tablespoons olive oil 

2 teaspoons Emeril's Essence or other Creole seasoning 

One 3-pound box kosher salt 

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon

1/4 cup lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice 

Juice of 2 oranges (about 1/2 cup) plus 1 tablespoon zest

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the chimichurri sauce: In a large bowl or with a mortar and pestle, combine the olive oil, parsley, sherry vinegar, basil, garlic, lemon juice, shallots and oregano. Stir or pound just until well blended (do not puree). Add the crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve at room temperature for up to 6 hours.
  2. For the hogfish: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. With a sharp knife, make five angled slits, about 1 1/2 inches apart, on each side of the fish. Rub the fish with the olive oil; season with 1 teaspoon Essence on each side. Place the fish on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Combine the kosher salt, basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, lemon zest and juice, orange juice and zest and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Mound the salt mixture evenly on the surface of the fish, leaving the head and tail uncovered. Firmly press the mixture into the flesh.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes. Beginning at the tail end, lightly pound the salt crust to crack it open, using the back of a heavy spoon or a mallet. Carefully pull off the salt crust. With a small spatula or wide knife, remove the flesh from the bone on the top side of the fish. Remove the back bone and serve the flesh from the bottom side.
  6. Spoon some of the chimichurri sauce over each serving. Garnish with parsley.