Thai Cooking Tips
Summer means serious grilling for many of us. Stores are filled with all sorts of barbecue gizmos and gadgets, but I think simple is better -- so how about an easy cookout this Sunday? You still need to man the grill, but you won't be stuck there all day.
Grilling fish in banana leaves has been around for centuries. The leaves not only look beautiful, but lend a subtle aroma and a taste of tea and anise that complement fish. The leaf protects the fish as it grills and keeps it moist.
If your fish is fresh and/or very delicate, either use an oiled fish cage or place a piece of banana leaf over your grill. Cook the fish right on the leaf (instead of tin foil). The leaf will turn fragrant and will brown as you cook.
You can go minimal and season the fish with salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil, or coat it with an exotic spice paste. Then just wrap the leaf around it. Wrap the packet in aluminum foil to keep the outer leaves from burning.
Banana leaves also make a beautiful background on which to serve various tropical dishes -- excellent for party platters or finger foods. To keep leftover leaves for later use, simply enclose in an extra-large, self-sealing plastic bag and refreeze. If you can't find them, aluminum foil may be substituted in today's recipe.