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Where are the Banana Leaves?

In the cookbook, Beach Blanket Bistro, I wrap (dorado) Mahi-Mahi in a banana leaf and use it to prepare the fish in manner similar to the French technique called en papillote. Several people have contacted me asking on important question, “Where do you find banana leaves?”

My initial response, unfortunately also sounds sarcastic…on a banana tree. Ornamental banana trees grow in many climates. Christa and I live in the middle of the Continental U.S. and she grows a winter hardy variety called Musa Basjoo. So one option is to grow them yourself.

The draw back to this is that if you live anyplace other than a warm, wet climate, using fresh homegrown leaves is seasonal. You can, of course, package and freeze the leaves, but to be frank, I am still experimenting with methods to find one that produces the best results.

In the off season, one method is to go to international or Asian markets were they can be purchased fresh or frozen. What I do, when planning to serve the dish in the off season, is I purchase them online.

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