Courtesy John Cox, chef-partner, Cultura–comida y bebida in Carmel and The Bear and Star in Los Olivos
Serves 2 to 3
1 1½- to 2-pound whole rock cod
5 egg whites
3 cups kosher salt
7 tablespoons ground pink pepper
Zest of 1 orange (zest with microplane)
Zest of 1 lemon (zest with microplane)
Prepare the fish by gutting, scaling and remove the gills. (Your fishmonger or fisherman may be willing to do this for you.) Rinse and thoroughly dry the fish.
Whip the egg whites with whisk attachment in a standing mixer bowl or by hand until they are glossy and hold soft peaks when you remove the whisk. Fold the remaining ingredients into the whipped egg whites.
Place the fish, belly side down as though it were swimming, on a large baking sheet. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to spread the egg white mixture evenly over the fish.
Roast the egg white-coated fish in a 375° F oven for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Test the fish for doneness by inserting a paring knife through the crust and into the thickest part of the filet. If the tip of the paring knife comes out warm to the touch, the fish is done. Allow to rest for 5 to10 minutes before cracking the crust open in front of your guests.