Banana Leaf Baked Scorfano (Scorpionfish)

Davide has a giant banana tree that protrudes endless gigantic leaves all throughout the summer. Unfortunately, she never produces the fruit, but in an effort to keep up with the ever-growing leaves, I chopped them, cleaned them, and kept them in the freezer…until now. It’s one of those freezer items I always forget that I have. So I went a little experimental with the banana leaves in an effort to use them up before they start sprouting again soon. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you!

The recipe was inspired by interesting finds at this weekend’s farmer’s market. I have always seen fish grilled of baked in banana leaves in traditional Spanish or West-Indian recipes. So I decided to give it a try myself!

From my Branzino recipe, but still carries:

I feel very fortunate to have easy access to affordable, fresh fish. I know in the US, it can get pretty expensive, but treat yourself if you can! Branzino is not native to the US areas. Choose a fish that is! Always as what came in fresh that day. It’s restaurant-worthy flavor right in your home.

What You’ll Need:

(Serves 2)

  • 1 scorfano

  • 1/2 bulb fennel, chopped vertically

  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly

  • paprika

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger

  • spicey pugliese olives, pitted

  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced

  • pugliese olive oil

  • 1 peperoncino, diced

  • 1 large banana leaf (you can probably find them in the freezer section if you don’t have access to fresh!)

Preparation:

Rinse the fish. Gently descale the fish by brushing your knife in the opposite direction on the scales.

Fill the bellies with fennel, olives, herbs, spices, and peperoncino. Top with lemons, more spices, and olive oil. Wrap in the banana leaf, and tie with baking string. Bake at 200°C (350°F) for 15 minutes or until tender. I also recommend grilling it!

The top should easily slide off the bone, and you should be able to lift the spine entirely from the tail to the head without removing any meat. Eat the cheek! It’s the most tender. Buon appetito!