fresh banana leaves
- Daniel C
I'm planning to wrap a whole salmon with herbs and lemon with banana leaves, then wrap the whole thing in foil, and roast/steam the beast over an open flame. This will be done sometime in June at a friend's house.
I've never used nor purchased fresh banana leaves. I imagine they'd be avaliable at Mexican or Southeast Asian markets, but which ones? Any suggestions of good places to find a ready supply? (I'm in Pasadena, and my friend is in Huntington Beach, so I'm prepared to purchase them in or near one area or the other.) How much should I buy? Is one leafy layer around the salmon enough, or should it be multiple layers? Any tips on cleaning and prepping them?
Given the abundance of banana trees in So Cal, if it were me , I would just help myself to a leaf or two -- I've never seen them for sale in any supermarket (including Gelson's, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, et al) as they are ENORMOUS -- I would imagine 1 would suffice but given the number of trees around, grab 2 -- you'll need to cut out the center rib that runs the length of each leaf or else it will be too rigid to wrap around anything.
You couldn't hurt anything (they're really sturdy) by giving them a good scrub w/ tepid water and a little Ivory liquid to rid them of years' worth of smog, birds, etc. Just be sure to rinse them well.