Grilled Whole Fish on Banana Leaf

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 1.14.31 PM

Servings:       Prep Time:       Cook Time:

Ingredients:

1 whole fish
sea salt & pepper
a handful of fresh herbs (I used Thai basil and cilantro)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1-3 banana leaves (about 3x larger than your fish) or double layer of tin foil
twine
lemon wedges

Directions:

Preheat your BBQ grill on high for 15 minutes.
If you are using frozen banana leaf, defrost in sink in warm water, unfold.

1. Clean your whole fish: Have your fishmonger scale and gut the fish for you. Its a messy business to scale a fish in your home kitchen sink! Even though your fishmonger gutted the fish for you - here's an important tip. The lining of the gut area is very fishy tasting and smelling. Usually, the thin membrane is still attached. Just use the tip of the knife to scrape the tough membrane lining and pull it out. Sometimes the color is white, sometimes it is pinkish. After cleaning, with sharp knife, slash fish diagonally 3 times per side to allow it to cook more evenly (which I totally forgot to do in my photo).

2. Season & stuff the whole fish: Season fish inside with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Stuff with fresh herbs - stems and all. Use twine to tie the fish so that the herbs don't fall out during grilling. Brush both sides of fish with cooking oil. Season outside with sea salt and pepper.

3. Grill: When the grill is hot, lay the banana leaf on the grate and gentlly place fish in the middle of the leaf. You can use multiple layers if you want. The leaf will curl and char into a wonderfully smoky brown color. Grill 6-10 minutes then carefully flip fish with a large spatula and grill another 6-10 minutes. My 1.5 pound fish took about 8 minutes per side. Check doneness by checking the thickest part of the fish - meat should separate easily and be flaky. Serve with lemon wedges.