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I am looking to bake a whole pollock (Pollachius pollachius or lieu jaune) in a salt crust. I have done this several times before with a sea bass/branzino or with a (gilt-head) sea bream and was always very happy with the result.

For some reason however, I don't think I have ever come across a similar recipe for pollock and I have been wondering if there is a reason for that. Is the salt crust baking technique appropriate for some fish in particular and which ones? Is there a reason not to try it with pollock?

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James Peterson, in his book Fish & Shellfish, recommends char, blackfish, grouper, ocean perch, rockfish, small salmon, trout, steelhead, and striped bass, but not pollock. However, he does say "almost any round fish can be prepared this way", and pollock is a round fish.

I suspect that the reasons that you don't see pollock suggested for cooking this way, or for that matter any way other than fried, is because the fish has a reputation for being delicate, but also slightly fishy, and drying out easily. So the risk of cooking it in a salt crust is that it could end up both dried out and extra-fishy tasting. On the other hand, salt-dried cod is its own staple ingredient in a lot of cuisines, and pollock is closely related.

In my personal experience, freshness and quality count for a lot, regardless of fish variety. If I had a couple really good, fresh, whole pollock, I'd probably try it, particularly if they are Alaska instead of Atlantic pollock.

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  • Thanks, the current storm in North-West Europe means I won't get this fish as planned but I will try it next time. – Relaxed Dec 27 '20 at 19:47

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