Did you know that the Greek have the most healthy diet of the entire world? After having visited Greece myself in 2010, it’s not hard for me to see why. While most of us here, in Boston at least, associate Greek restaurants with lamb gyros, french fries, and baklava, the country itself has a much fresher, healthier daily diet. And by diet, I don’t mean the latest fad on what’s the best for weight loss. I mean diet:
The make up of the land in Greece is over 50% coastline. That translates to A TON OF FRESH FISH. In fact, when Josh and I were in Mykonos, we had lunch at a Taverna where the dingys (tiny boats) were actually docking outside the restaurant and bringing the fish to the kitchen! And everywhere we ate, the whole fish, yes head and eyes and all, were an option. Thank goodness the kind Greeks typically offered to get the fish off the bone for you! The availability of fresh fish, abundance of olive oil and inclusion of greens in almost every meal is the basic reason for such healthy diet in Greece.
With all this said, I had been planning a fish market trip for a while, but had yet to pull the trigger. Then my friend, Jackie requested a Saturday afternoon visit, so I figured we could both go so that I could cook a dinner that took me back to the beaches of Mykonos! Have I mentioned it’s still winter here?
2 whole lane snappers, filleted
8 sprigs fresh thyme
8 sprigs fresh oregano
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 cups grape tomatoes
2 banana leaves
¼ cup Olive oil, total
Coconut oil spray
First, you can ask your fish market to fillet whole fish for you. Ask them to keep the skin, but scale and debone. This makes two servings, so use 2 pieces of fish per banana leaves and split the other ingredients between them equally.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the fish skin side down on the inside of the banana leaf. This will be obvious by color, the outside is darker. Then place half each of the fresh thyme, oregano, minced garlic and tomatoes on both banana leaves worth of fish. Pour about 1/8 cup olive oil over each then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the banana leaf around the food from the bottom and top first then the sides to form a pocket. Spray coconut oil spray on the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish and lay both banana leaf pockets on it. Spray the top of the leaves with coconut oil as well. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
This fish comes out perfectly cooked! Who knew a banana leaf could do such an amazing job keeping the fish from drying out! As a side note, I had to use banana leaves because I could not find a single place in the Somerville area with grape leaves, but I KNEW I could find banana in Union Square! So it’s not 100% authentic Greek, but it was close. I served it with sautéed kale, arugula and spinach greens which take no time!
This made me feel super healthy….why? Because it is! I hope you enjoy it as well.