In this recipe, banana leaves impart a subtly sweet and grassy aroma to fish while also keeping the delicate fillets from sticking to the grill. Look for banana leaves in Latin American and Asian markets, where they are sometimes sold fresh and can usually be found frozen as well. Serve the fish alongside steamed rice for soaking up the rich, fragrant sauce.
Banana Leaf-Grilled Fish with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) coconut milk
Juice of 3 limes
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1/3 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) fresh mint leaves
2 garlic cloves
1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed
2 tsp. honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod, about 6 oz. (185 g) each
Vegetable oil for brushing
6 large fresh or thawed frozen banana leaves
Prepare a hot fire in a grill.
In blender or food processor, combine the coconut milk, lime juice, cilantro, mint, garlic, ginger, jalapeño and honey. Puree until thoroughly combined and fairly smooth. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
Brush each of the fish fillets lightly with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Place 1 fish fillet in the center of a banana leaf. Fold the bottom edge of the leaf over the fish, fold in the sides over the fish, and then fold the package away from you to enclose the fish in the leaf. Using kitchen twine, tie the packet closed. Repeat with the remaining fillets and banana leaves.
Arrange the banana leaf packets on the grill over direct heat and grill, turning once, until the tip of a
paring knife can be inserted into the fish without any resistance, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the banana leaf packets to individual plates and carefully open them. Serve immediately, passing the coconut-cilantro sauce alongside. Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen