Have you noticed that salt crusting meats are kind of “in” right now? Maybe it was “in” for a while, but I’ve been noticing more and more culinary magazines and blogs dedicating to this cooking method. I’m not one of those trend followers, however, I am very curious, therefore, I had to try it out. It seems like this salt crusted baking method originated from Italy, however, I also read that the Chinese use this method as well, go figure. I intend to salt crust different types of meat and see how all of them come out! So, the first one up is the chicken legs, let’s see how well they do.
For my salt crusted baking experiment, I used 4 marinated chicken legs (NOTE: I realized after the chicken cooked that I didn’t need to marinate!! I have such Asian mentality, better to bake the chicken without any seasonings and just make a sauce).
6 cups of kosher salt
4 egg whites
1/2 cup water
Mix the salt, egg whites and water
Spread enough of salt mixture on a large cookie sheet to make a bed (roughly the same size as your meat)
Lay the meat on the bed
Using your hands, coat the meat with the remaining salt mixture to make a 1/4 inch crust, molding it around the contours of the meat.
Roast in a pre-heated 400F oven for about 40 minutes. I put a temperature gauge in the chicken as it cooked. The internal temperature in the thigh should be between 175-180F. Once done, take it out of the oven and let it rest on top of the stovetop for about 10 minutes.
It looks like a really ugly volcano. This is because I marinated the chicken beforehand. As I said, no use to marinate!!
Very carefully, with the back of a large metal spoon tap the crust. Brush away any salt on the meat.
The meat was very tender and moist. Once again, no need to marinate because a little bit of salt will seep in. I served with baked golden beets with butter, and stir fried beet greens, spinach, onions, and yellow bell pepper.
Note: Here is the amount of salt mixture you need based on the weight of meat:
12oz to 1 lb – 3 cups salt, 2 egg whites and 1/4 cup water
1 to 2 lb – 4-1/2 cups salt, 3 egg whites and 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water
2 to 3 lb – 6 cups salt, 4 egg whites and 1/2 cup water
3 to 4 1/2 lb – 7 1/2 cups salt, 5 egg whites and 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons water