Poisson Gros Sel


Haitian Poisson Gros Sel

I have always been scared of fish. There was no such thing serving filet of fish in Haiti at the dinner table. Every one was entitled to a whole fish. And it was your duty to take out the ” bones” .
If you were a child , You’d actually get lucky since the parents would be responsible for “cleaning” your whole fish for you. And even then I’d still be careful. I’d chew for 10 more seconds until I thought it was safe to swallow.
I’m not going to lie, I still do it these days.
Since I have yet to post a recipe about Haitian seafood cuisine since my potato-codfish one. I decided to share one of my favorites with you guys. You’ll see!!!!  YOU….WILL …. LOVE ….IT

So, this dish is called ” Poisson Gros Sel” which literally means ” Fish Big Salt”
It’s fish cooked with unprocessed big lumps of salt that are crushed at home if desired. These pieces of salt are as big as about 1/2 an inch to 1 inch in diameter and they came directly from the sea.
In America, I guess it’s called SEA SALT.

Preparation time: 1h15mns
Serves : 1 to 2 persons


  • 1 fish (3lbs) (Preferably , red snapper. I used a porgie)
  • 1 onion
  • 12 shallots or 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • garlic, parsley, thyme to taste
  • 2 tbsps  of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of sour oranges
  • 1 tbsp of lemon
  • 1 tbsp of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of Maitre d’ hotel butter ( a sauce of  1tbsp of butter with parsley, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste )


  1. Clean the fish. And we mean it! CLEAN THE FISH!  Remove the guts, gills etc. Us Haitians take pride in how well our fish is cleaned.  Take it for a bath. ” Soap” it with your sour oranges. When you are finished, discard of the sour orange juice.
  2. Place the fish in a large-enough-bowl and pour your lemon juice on it. Make sure it reaches every part of the fish.
  3. Add your crushed garlic, parsley and thyme with 1 tbsp of sea salt. Leave to marinate for about 1 hour
  4. Cut your onions and bell peppers. Prepare your Maitre d’ Hotel butter.
  5. In a large pan, let them simmer in the Maitre d’ hotel butter. Place your fish in the mixture. Add one more tbsp of sea salt if desired.
  6. In another bowl, add 6 shallots to your vinegar. This will be used for the decoration of your dish.

This dish can be served warm or cold. Usually enjoyed with fried or boiled plantains.


Maitre d'hotel sauce

Poisson Gros Sel

Poisson Gros Sel 2

Poisson Gros Sel 3

Poisson Gros Sel 4

Published by Nathalie JB

Bonjou! My name is Nathalie Jean-Baptiste. Yes! I know, my last name doesn’t get any more Haitian than that! Who am I really? I consider myself a renaissance woman. I looooooove learning new skills in any field possible: Culinary, baking, painting, crafting, designing, writing, knitting, sewing. You name it! I often joke while saying “ I’m a tout bagay”. Which literally translates to “I’m everything”. Most say I'd make a great surgeon due to the agility in my hands. Sure, I can manage any tasks requiring detail and precision. It drives my audacity to venture in the kitchen with absolutely no experience. What better motivation than to share my culinary journey with you? To help you get better at things you probably thought you couldn't do. At least, that was my drive! I guess by now, you’ve already figured out that I'm the cook and photographer behind “Pilon lakay”. This blog started 8 years ago as I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about Haitian cuisine. Back home, I was never taught how to cook nor was I ever interested in being in the kitchen unless it involved baking. Instead, I loved preparing cakes and cookies. (Shhhh! I still do). After a couple of years in the US, like most of us immigrants, I missed food from home. The good stuff, you know! So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make of this a personal exploration of Haitian food. Boy what a journey it has been! While cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I wanted to encourage others like me to actually learn and explore Haiti’s gastronomy. I made sure my instructions were personal and beginner friendly. My recipe directions contain a lot more details than any other regular recipes. With a personal touch, it's a depiction of my thought process when I do these many tasks. I'm sure you can cook anything on here! If I can do it, you can too! Come experience Haiti through your taste buds! Meet you in the kitchen! Love, N.

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