Nothing says summer to me more than Latin flavors which always bring thoughts of sunshine, beaches, and carefree living! I remember when I returned from a Costa Rican vacation a couple years ago, I made rice and beans for weeks to keep the dream alive. This dish reminded me of that trip where I ate plantains multiple times a day–I couldn’t get enough of them. They are loaded with sugar so they are not really Primal but I splurged a little for this brightly flavored summer meal.
Chile and Citrus Banana Leaf Mahi Mahi (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4-6)
- 5 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
- 1/2 c. onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 orange (1/2 juiced, 1/2 thinly sliced into 6 half-moons)
- 1 lime (1/2 juiced, 1/2 thinly sliced into 6 half-moons)
- Kosher salt
- 16 oz. fresh banana leaves
- 6 6-ounce mahi mahi fillets
Put the chiles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak until pliable, about 15 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the soaking liquid, then drain the chiles.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, oregano and cumin and cook until the onion is soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with the reserved chile soaking liquid, the chiles, orange juice, lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; blend until smooth.
Unfold the banana leaves and cut into six 12-inch-long pieces; rinse and pat dry. Place a banana leaf shiny-side down on a work surface. Coat the fish generously with the pureed chile mixture. Place 1 mahi mahi fillet in the center of the leaf and top with a slice each of orange and lime. Fold 2 opposite ends of the leaf over the fish, overlapping them to tightly enclose the fish, then tuck the open ends underneath. Transfer to a large roasting pan or baking dish. Repeat to make 5 more banana leaf-wrapped fillets, then transfer the pan to the refrigerator and let the fish marinate 1 to 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and cover tightly with foil. Bake until the fish is just cooked through, opening a packet to check for doneness, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to plates and carefully unwrap just before eating.
Fried Plantain and Spinach Quinoa (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 6)
- 2 medium plantains, peeled and sliced
- 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, or animal fat for frying
- 2-3 organic scallions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. mexican seasoning
- 1 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
- 12 oz. organic baby spinach
- 1 cup yellow quinoa, cooked
Cook quinoa in two cups of simmering salted water for 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the plantains and fry about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove to a paper towel to drain. You can also bake the plantains at 375°F for 15 minutes.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of frying oil and reduce heat to medium. Add scallions, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes or until spinach is just wilted. Add the quinoa, paprika, cayenne, mexican seasoning, and salt. Finally stir in the fried or baked plantains and serve with chile citrus mahi mahi.