“Baking salmon in a salt crust creates a natural cave that helps the salmon retain maximum moisture as it cooks, as well as imparting a very delicate seasoning. It’s not only a showstopper, you’ll get the most perfectly cooked flaky fish, too. ”
Wash the salmon well both inside and out, then pat dry with kitchen paper.
Finely slice 1 lemon and the fennel into rounds and stuff into the salmon cavity with the parsley, marjoram and chives.
Combine the rock salt, eggs and 250ml of water in a large bowl, then evenly spread one-third of the mixture over a large baking tray (35cm x 45cm).
Make a slight hollow in the middle to hold the salmon snugly, lay the salmon diagonally in the tray, then spoon over the remaining salt mixture, heaping it around and on to the salmon to create an even 2cm-thick layer all over the fish. Bake for 35 minutes.
To test if the salmon is ready, push a skewer through the salt into the thickest part of the fish – if it comes out warm after 5 seconds, it’s done. Remove from the oven and set aside in the crust for just 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the basil yoghurt. Pick the basil leaves into a blender and add the mustard, the juice of 1 lemon and half the yoghurt. Blitz until smooth, then fold back through the rest of the yoghurt with 4 tablespoons of oil, and season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper.
To make the salsa, deseed the chillies and very finely chop with the mint leaves and a drizzle of honey. Scrape into a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 teaspoons of vinegar, and season to perfection.
Lightly crack the salt casing and pull it away from the salmon, brushing any excess from the top. Gently loosen and carefully transfer the fish to a large platter.
Pull the skin away, then use a regular eating knife to scrape away any darker fish, leaving you with beautifully cooked pink salmon, which you can rustically remove in flakes and lobes.
Serve with the basil yoghurt, salsa and lemon wedges for squeezing over.