When I was in Kerala, India, at an ayurvedic ashram, we ate our (delicious) vegetarian food on banana leaves. They didn’t cook with the banana leaves, instead they used them as dishes. It was quite elegant looking, totally eco-friendly, easy to carry and serve. In India, we had access to dozens of different types of bananas, some high in protein, some higher in sugar, some higher in fiber. Whatever type they needed to complement a certain meal, you could be sure bananas were included. Now, this Ageless Diet™ recipe doesn’t have any bananas in it, just the leaves but it reminds me of those warm, fragrant nights in a tropical land. And that’s a good thing as we go into autumn and soon winter. I’m going to want a dish that harkens to warmer climes. And with the garlicky paste on the fish, the sauteed greens and black rice, it’s filling enough for a cold winter’s night, or totally appropriate for a sultry summer one. The dish is tasty and Ageless Diet approved, and it’s also easy to make.
Fish in Banana Leaves with Garlicky Greens
- 1 pound of firm, fresh red snapper, grouper, or cod (or any other wild caught ocean fish)
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional if you want a little spice
- Mexican oregano
- 2 dried banana leaves (available at Mexican specialty stores)
- Kitchen twine
*If you can’t find banana leaves, try parchment paper
- 1 bunch dandelion greens, spinach or lacinato kale, sauteed in olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup of black (forbidden) rice, cooked
- Cook the black rice in water with salt.
- Peel the head of garlic, blend the cloves in a blender or food processor or mash by hand with 1/4 cup of olive oil and sea salt until it’s a thick paste.
- Rub the each side of the fish with the garlicky paste. Rub this olive oil/garlic mixture into the fish on both sides and then cover the fish with dried leaves Mexican oregano.
- Wrap each filet in a banana leaf and tie into a packet with cooking twine. Or wrap it with parchment paper into a tight, neat packet. Bake the packets on a cookie sheet in a preheated 350 F oven until done, about 20 minutes. Or put them on the grill for about 15-20 minutes.
- While fish is cooking, saute 3 cloves of minced garlic and a teaspoon of sea salt in olive oil, add the chopped dandelion greens or lacinato kale or spinach until wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Serve the fish with black rice, wilted garlicky dandelion greens or kale.
About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.