This grilled fish in banana leaves recipe from the Seafood book allows the fish to steam in its own moisture and the leaves give a smoked flavour.
1 red snapper about 3 lbs scaled and gutted
2 to 3 banana leaves
1 tsp sesame oil for the banana leaves
lime wedges to serve
For the marinade
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
grated zest of 1 lime
1 red chillie seeded and chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Make 3 to 4 slashes on each side of the fish nearly to the bone. Put the marinade ingredients into a blender and chop. Press this mixture into the slashes and set aside for about 20 minutes.
Blanch the banana leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds to soften then remove with tongs and rinse in cold running water. Cut the thick vein from the center of the banana leaves. Then arrange them overlapping on a large cutting board, shiny side down. Brush with sesame oil, and put the fish on the leaves and wrap to encase the body, the head and tail can be visible. If needed secure the leaves with cocktail sticks.
Grill or Bake
Preheat the grill to make it really hot and cook the fish turning often to prevent the leaves from burning, it will take about 20 minutes.
It can also be baked at 375F for 20 minutes, I wrapped the banana leaves with foil to prevent it from burning and turned it once during the baking time.
Insert a metal skewer into the center of the fish through the leaves for 30 seconds. If the fish is cooked, the skewer will emerge piping hot. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with lime wedges. Unwrap at the table and serve with rice.
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