Monday, May 21, 2012


It's Food Matters Project Monday. Week 16 as we cook our way through Mark Bittmans Book. This week our host is Sara of food & frederick. Sara chose Mexican-Style Fruit Salad with Grilled or Broiled Fish. This was right up my alley, as I love seafood and we have a early morning Saturday fisherman's market down at the harbor. The boats pull in with their catch and you buy it right off the boat.

I woke up at the crack of yawn to check out the fresh fish.

Somebody else had the same idea.

There were only two boats in and the catch of the day?


and crabs.

She was handing out uni samples at 7:00AM ???????????

Not going to work for my Food Matters Project meal.

Not far from the harbor is a very ethnic Market. I haven't ventured in there in years. Wow! It was fun. All the Mexican specialties you could want. Check out the happy meat case.

I spotted some fresh banana leaves and I instantly knew what I was going to do. Grill some halibut in the leaves with a salsa made from oranges and pineapples.

I bought a package of leaves but I ended up with a boat load of leaves. This is only part of them. At least they freeze well. By now the Harbor Fish Market had opened and I loved the look of the Alaskan Halibut. I bought a pound and cut it in half.

The halibut was seasoned with salt and pepper, a little olive oil and a drizzle of juice from the orange-pineapple salsa. Then you wrap it up like a burrito. You can skewer the ends, tie it up in a little bundle, or put them in a basket like I did.

They were grilled for about 5 minutes per side. The banana leaves seal in the moisture and add a delicious mellow, smoky sweet flavor to the fish. You can wrap other types of fish in the leaves and even grill vegetables this way.

Right off the grill, then served with an Orange-Pineapple Salsa.


2 limes,  juiced
2 TBSP. freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 tsp chile de arbol powder (or chile powder if you like it mild)
2 tsp. honey
2 TBSP. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into small dice
2 oranges, peeled and cut into small dice
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 TBSP. chopped fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the lime juice, orange, chile powder, honey, and oil in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Salsa adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe.


Banana leaves cut into squares, washed and soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.
4- 8oz. halibut fillets, skinned
Salt and pepper
olive oil
juice from the salsa

Cut each banana leaf into a 14 x 14 inch square. Place halibut fillet in center of leaf, drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tsp. of the salsa juice on top and wrap the leaves around the halibut like a burrito. Tie together or skewer the ends closed and grill for about 5 minutes per side. You can also use a grill rack to grill the halibut like the picture above.

Remove from banana leaves and serve topped with the salsa.

For the original recipe as Mark Bittman wrote it please check it out on Sara's blog food & frederick. Then go here for all our groups amazing takes on his recipe.


Sarah said...

Really interested in trying to do some grilling with banana leaves now. (I will need to get my hands on a grill first though haha.) The whole dish sounds delicious!

Elaine said...

I loved looking at all your photos! Reminds me of where I live. Banana leaves!! Don't know if I can even get them here. I remember having my dinner served on them when we were in Bali. I'm off on a quest to find them now because we eat a lot of halibut. Great post!

Casey said...

Banana leaves - how wonderful. Makes this a real treat. I love the orange pineapple combination.

Lexi said...

Hi Sarah, You can bake food wrapped in banana leaves too. I'm going to wrap a pork roast in them and cook it in the crock pot this week.

Lexi said...

Thanks Elaine! When I can't find fresh banana leaves I buy them frozen at the Asian Markets.

Lexi said...

Thanks Casey!

Marcia said...

Wow, what a great post, Lexi! And such a delicious looking meal! I've never thought of grilling with banana leaves myself, but now I'm thinking hey, why not? Thanks for the inspiration!

Margarita said...

Oh my goodness! You are a woman after my own heart... in the Philippines we would cook rice or fish in banana leaves and it lends a delicious aroma to the food you're cooking in it. Where do you live and how did you get ahold of banana leaves? I am jealous!

Lexi said...

Thanks Marcia! They make a fun presentation too.

Lexi said...

Hi Margarita, I live in Santa Barbara, CA. We are on the coast and bananas grow well here. I have never cooked rice in them but what a great idea.

Alyssa @ Everyday Maven said...

Santa Barbara is one of my favorite places in the US! You are so lucky to live there!!! This is such a great way to grill fish. Yum!

Lexi said...

Hi Alyssa, Yes, I feel very lucky to live here. I'm the second of three generations born and raised in Santa Barbara! It's the only place I have ever lived.

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

I've never cooked anything using a banana leave, but now I've got to go out and do it. It looks fabulous!

keelymarie said...

this is AWESOME. so beautiful looking and I bet the flavors it locked in were fantastic!

Lexi said...

Thanks Mireya! A group of my friends requested some today to give it a try.

Lexi said...

Thanks Keely Marie! The flavors were great and the presentation was fun.

prairiesummers said...

Banana leaves- wow this sounds so exotic!

Joanne said...

I love how so many people went tropical with their salsa! The banana leaves are a nice touch!

Lexi said...

Thanks Jen!

Lexi said...

Thanks Joanne!