Grilling fish can be intimidating for many backyard cooks as it is easy to go from grilling perfection to fish that is completely stuck to the grates and falling apart. While wood planks are a favorite method of ensuring delicate fish remains intact during the cooking process, wrapping it in banana leaves is another sure fire bet as it protects the fish while also imparting a subtle, almost earthy, flavor.
BANANA LEAF GRILLED SALMON
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. agave syrup (or honey)
1/2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 (2lb.) salmon fillet, skin on
Banana leaves (available in the freezer section of ethnic markets)
Combine soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar, agave syrup, and grated ginger in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place the salmon in a large re-sealable bag, add the marinade, and seal the bag while removing as much excess air as possible. Refrigerate the salmon for at least an hour, turning the bag every 15-20 minutes to ensure the marinade is evenly coating the fish.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat cooking (approximately 400 degrees). Remove fish from the marinade and pat dry. Return the marinade to the refrigerator until ready to use as a finishing sauce.
Lay two banana leaves on the counter, set fish on top, the add another large banana leaf.
Fold the ends of the banana leaves up and over the fish and do the same with the sides so that the fish is completely covered. Tie the banana leaves in place with butcher's twine.
Place the fish on the grill, cover the grill, and allow the fish to cook for 20 minutes until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees* (Note: the fish will continue to increase in temperature once it is removed from the grill, reaching the USDA recommended minimum temperature of 145 degrees as it rests).
Remove the fish from the grill and set it aside to continue cooking within the banana leaf. Place a small saucepan on the grill as the salmon continues to cook. Add the marinade to the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Allow it to continue cooking until it has reduced by half. Open the banana leaf packet, brush the fish with the sauce, and serve immediately.
* We recommend investing in a quality instant read thermometer such as the Thermapen from ThermoWorks