Recipe: Vicki Ravlich-Horan | Photography: Ashlee deCaires

You can bake all manner of things in a salt crust, which results in a beautifully tender and well-seasoned dish. Whole fish is a popular option, but I love how it transforms an ordinary roast chook into something special.
Bring the oven tray to the table and smash through that crust for a little tableside dramatics. When the steam clears you have a moist chook full of flavour.

2kg salt
2 tbsp cracked pepper
¼ cup fresh rosemary (thyme and tarragon are great options too)
6 egg whites
1.5–2kg free-range chicken
1 lemon, quartered
4–5 garlic cloves
extra herbs

To make the salt dough, roughly chop the rosemary and then mix with the salt and pepper. Mix in the egg whites to make a soft dough.
Place the chicken on an oven tray and stuff with the lemon, garlic and extra herbs.
Next cover the entire chicken in the salt dough, ensuring you have no gaps or holes.
Bake in a 175°C oven for 1½ hours. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before you crack open the crust.

Egg whites – save up your egg whites for dishes like this, or meringues and friands, by freezing them when you make custards, aioli etc that use egg yolks.

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