Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen
Season 3 in High Definition
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Primal Grill is filmed at Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico.
Episode: 204 :: BY THE SEA
Snapper Grilled In Banana Leaves
Source: Adapted from How to Grill, pg. 307
Method: Direct Grilling
Category: Vegetarian
1/4 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and skewered on a toothpick
1/2 teaspoon annatto seeds or paste, or 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 whole allspice berries
2 cloves
1 piece cinnamon stick (about 1 inch)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons sour orange juice or lime juice
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 pounds red snapper, cut into uniform 8-ounce portions
2 to 3 whole banana leaves (enough to make 8 pieces,
each 8 by 10 inches)
2 onion slices, separated into rings
8 sprigs fresh epazote or cilantro

Other Items Needed:
Youll also need:

Wooden toothpicks

Prepare the spice paste: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium-high. When ready to cook, place the onion quarter and the garlic on the hot grate and grill until lightly browned. (You could also do this in a dry skillet over high heat, or on a baking sheet under the broiler.)

Place the annatto seeds, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, and bay leaf in a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder Transfer the mixture to a blender or a food processor and add the sour orange juice, browned onion and garlic, the salt, and 1/4 cup of water. Puree until smooth.

Rinse the fish under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange the fish in a nonreactive baking dish and pour the marinade over it, turning the pieces to coat evenly. Let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 hour.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. When ready to cook, if using fresh banana leaves, place them on the hot grate and grill until pliable, 10 to 20 seconds. Cut the leaves into 8 pieces, each 8 by 10 inches. Place a piece of banana leaf, dark-side down, on your work surface. Place a piece of fish in the center. Place an onion ring or two and a sprig of epazote on top of the fish.
Wrap up the fish in the banana leaf, completely enclosing it. Secure with toothpicks.

Place the fish packets on the hot grate and grill until the banana leaves are nicely browned and the fish is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side. To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer into a bundle. When the fish is fully cooked the skewer will come out very hot to the touch after 20 seconds. Or unwrap one bundle: the fish will break into clean flakes when pressed with your finger. Serve the fish in the banana leaves.
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