BBQ Bass in Banana Leaves with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

I am addicted to eating fruit in savoury dishes at the moment so when Chris brought home some baby bass he had spotted going cheap at the end of the day, I immediately looked for a fruity accompaniment. I had a pineapple patiently waiting to meet its fate and decided to give it a good grilling on the BBQ and then use it in a tropical, chilli spiked salsa.

I rarely cook by any method other than BBQ in the ‘summer’ and so needed a way of protecting the bass on the grill. The huge bunches of banana leaves decorating many of the shops in Peckham Rye seemed just the ticket – a bit more exciting than foil anyway.

When I went down to buy some they were nearly all gone and it dawned on me how these shops work; they receive huge gluts of produce, which can sometimes be sold out the same day and not seen again for weeks. When the fresh callaloo comes in, which is exactly what had happened on banana leaf day, bunches are stacked into towering piles on every corner of every stall, around which throngs of people are jostling, rifling and grabbing for the best bunch. It’s usually all gone in the space of a day.

I snagged my banana leaves unscathed and looked to ingredients for the salsa – finely chopped red onion, chilli, coriander and mint to mix with the grilled pineapple. It’s my favourite fruit to BBQ by a mile – either brushed with chilli-lime syrup or ginger or straight up savoury like this, I just love slapping fat slices on the grill. Juicy, sweet, charred and fragrant.

The banana leaves worked a treat too – the bass steamed perfectly inside, stuffed with lime, slivers of scotch bonnet, ginger and herbs, releasing a poof of fragrant steam when unwrapped. Only thing is, now I have a load of leftover banana leaves – those things are pretty massive and I’ve about eight of them – any ideas for other uses?

BBQ Bass in Banana Leaves with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

2 sea bass or other white fish suitable for stuffing and steaming
2 banana leaves
Skewers or cocktail sticks to seal the leaves (soaked for 20 minutes in cold water)
4 slices lime + extra juice of 1 lime
4 slices ginger
Handful coriander
Handful mint
4 slivers scotch bonnet or other chilli (use more or less depending on the heat of the chilli)
Salt and pepper

For the salsa

1 pineapple, cut into thick slices
Small handful coriander leaves picked and roughly chopped
Small handful mint leaves finely shredded
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
Black pepper

– Light the BBQ. When hot add the pineapple slices until charred in places on both sides.
– Open out a banana leaf and oil the part which will come into contact with the fish. Stuff the belly of the fish with 2 ginger slices, 2 lime slices and half the herbs and chilli. Squeeze a bit of lime juice in and season all over. Wrap the leaf up as best you can to contain the fish and secure with skewers or sticks. Repeat with the second fish and put on the BBQ, lid on. The cooking time will depend on the size of your fish. I cooked mine for about 20 minutes.
– While the fish is cooking, dice the pineapple and mix with the other ingredients.
– Serve fish with salsa and enjoy!

Category: Barbecue, Fish, Fruit, Healthy, Main Dishes, Side Dishes 13 comments »

13 Responses to “BBQ Bass in Banana Leaves with Grilled Pineapple Salsa”

  1. catty

    Yum! This post has been up two seconds and I’ve already copied down the pineapple salsa recipe. I know the sea bass is the star here but that pineapple salsa is what I’ve been looking for for a ‘fun salad/side thing’ for a dinner party! PERFECT thanks Helen :)

  2. aforkfulofspaghetti

    That was all going so well until I got to ‘pineapple’. It’s one of the very few foods I can’t quite convince my tastebuds about. I’ve no idea what the problem is.

  3. Mathilde's Cuisine

    It looks absolutely delicious. I love the combination of flavours especially with the fish. Great recipe, a great one for this summer, as long as the weather allows us to make BBQ!

  4. Danny

    You should be commended for endevouring to cook only on the bbq during a British summer. Which means that most of your meals at home are either mostly impromptu or mostly soggy.

    Sea Bass and salsa looks delicious

  5. Lizzie

    I still haven’t tried grilling pineapple, but I imagine it caramelises beautifully.

    Do the banana leaves impart any flavour, or are they a bbq protector?

  6. msmarmitelover

    Great dish. Pineapple curry is good too, surprisingly.

  7. johanna

    that sounds wonderful… i love seabass from the grill, but unless you want the skin to remain on your grill indefinitely, you need some sort of barrier – and the foil i was using had no style at all! banana leaves are the perfect solution!

  8. joey

    The pineapple salsa sounds like a winner! And I love food cooked in banana leaves…we use that a lot in our local cuisine :)

  9. Jonathan

    Looks great. Did you get any smoky flavours from the BBQ?

  10. Helen

    Catty – glad you liked the salsa! Let me know what you think if you do end up making it. I think grilled pineapple rocks.
    A forkful of Spaghetti – So you got halfway through the title?!
    Mathilde – I don’t let it stop me! I just cook things that can be done with the lid on like this. Don’t let the British summer derive you of BBQ food!
    Danny – see above re: lid :)
    Lizzie – no the leaves are just a protector – just a bit more exciting than foil to be honest.
    MsMarmiteLover – LOVE pineapple in curries. I just blogged one recently with prawns and pineapple.
    Johanna – They are nice if you are having guests over definitely, a bit more interest for the eye.
    Joey – I love it. Perhaps a bit ott for someone who lives nowhere near a banana tree but sometimes a girl just wants a bit of colour.
    Johnathan – yeah because the leaves have lots of gaps and splits in them so the smoke can get in there :)

  11. Taylor Young

    That looks simply amazing.

    Pineapple is such an amazing thing to cook with. A world of possibilities. Very nice!

  12. Mold Remediation Prince George\'s County, MD

    MMM all of this food looks so good!

    <3 Lindsay

  13. Hazel

    Looks good! Failing all other inspiration, banana leaves make pretty good plates. Traditional in south east asia. Just don’t try and pick them up when they have food on!

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