Pompano in a Salt Crust

Mark Twain called the pompano "as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin."

6 to 8 leaves romaine lettuce
1 1/2 or 2 pounds pompano, cleaned
    and with head and tail on
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Small bunch parsley or other fresh herbs
1 (3 pound) box kosher salt
1/4 pound butter
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 to 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, quartered

Blanch romaine leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds to soften them. Drain, rinse in cold water, drain, and pat dry.

Season fish lightly inside and out. Stuff cavity with parsley or herbs. Wrap fish entirely in the romaine leaves. Place a thick layer of salt in a deep baking dish. Add the fish and cover with salt, at least 1 inch deep on top. Sprinkle salt lightly with cold water to help the salt solidify while baking. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes. 

Crack the crust, remove fish from salt, and then from its green wrapper. Remove fillets from the backbone, top and bottom, and place on a serving platter. Melt butter with cumin and coriander and pour over the fillets.

Serve with lemon quarters. Serves 2.

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