SPICED HALIBUT GRILLED IN BANANA LEAVES
Source: Steven Raichlen
This spiced halibut will elevate your barbecue to a sophisticated dinner party with the clever method of packaging each serving in banana leaves. This will keep your grill clean and make it look pretty too! Mouth-watering flavor renders this recipe a win-win-win.
Steven Raichlen's Spiced Halibut Grilled in Banana Leaves. Photo by Chris Bierlein.
For the spice paste:
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
A 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and rough chopped
4 shallots, peeled and rough chopped
6 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and rough chopped, or 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sriracha
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
For the fish:
8 6- to 7-ounce pieces of halibut, each about 6 by 2 inches and 3/4 inch thick
Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
8 rectangular pieces of banana leaf, each about 12 by 14 inches
1. Make the spice paste: Place the cilantro, ginger, shallots, lemongrass, garlic, black pepper, soy sauce, and sriracha in a food processor and grind to a fine paste, running the machine in short bursts. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat, then add the spice paste. Fry until dark and fragrant, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the coconut milk.
2. Transfer the spice paste to a plate or bowl and let cool to room temperature. Using a spoon or spatula, thickly spread each piece of fish on both sides with the spice paste.
3. Light your Angara grill and heat to high.
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4. If using fresh banana leaves, warm on each side for 10 seconds to soften the leaf. Skip this step if using frozen leaves. Lay a banana leaf square, dark side down, on your work surface. Place a piece of halibut in the center. Fold over one side, then the other, to encase the fish. Then pin each end with a toothpick to seal the package. Each package will be about 7 inches by 4 inches. The fish packages can be prepared several hours ahead and refrigerated until grilling.
5. Arrange the banana leaf packages, smooth side down, and grill until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the packages over and grill the same way - total cooking time should be 6 to 10 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer through the side of one packet and leave it for 15 seconds: it should come out very hot to the touch.
6.Serve the fish in the banana leaf. Let each eater open his or her own package.