Banana leaves are everywhere in The Yucatán. They are very large and pliable and when food is wrapped in them and baked, the dish takes on the subtle flavor of the leaf. The cooks of The Yucatán use banana leaves to bake food in the same way we use tin foil in El Norte.
If you live in a large metropolitan area or in an area with a large Mexican, Central American or Islander population, you could find banana leaves for sale in specialty produce markets.
Pescado En Tikin Xic / Baked Fish in Achiote
Nice filets of White Fish, one for each person. In the image for this post, the fish is Talapia, but any kind of fish filet will do.
Sweet Bell Peppers – red, orange, yellow, or a combination.
A little Olive Oil
A banana leaf. Leafs are large, you’ll need at least one. It really depends on how many people you are feeding.
Sour Orange (juiced)
Make a thin paste of the olive oil, sour orange juice, and red achiote in a bowl.
Salt and pepper and then coat the fish filets with lemon juice and garlic.
Then coat the fish filets in the achiote paste and let marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Slice the tomatoes and onions thinly on the round and peppers into medium to thin lengthwise slices.
Rinse the banana leaves.
You are going to make tamale-like pouches for the fish. If you haven’t done that before, think of wrapping a sandwich for lunch in waxed paper or tin foil. It’s pretty much the same process.
Even if you’ve got packaged banana leaves, you’ll probably realize as soon as you take it out of the package to rinse it off that you’ll have to cut it into squares for the filets. Each filet gets their own packet.
So, put the cut square of banana leaf down on the cutting board.
Lay down a marinated fish filet.
On top of that, layer the onion, tomato, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Repeat that process for all of your fish filets.
Bake in the oven at about 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Just out of the oven. I couldn’t get my banana leaf to fold, so I just folded it over in half, over the top of the fish.