Scabbard and Banana

Try Sophie Grigson's delightful recipe for this deliciously different fish speciality from Madeira
By Sophie Grigson
Scabbard and Banana
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 1-1.25 kg scabbard fish, cleaned
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • juice of 1 lemons
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 4-6 bananas
  • 30 g butter
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

To Garnish:

  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 4 lemon wedges


1. Cut the fish up into pieces each about 8-10 cm long, discarding the head and tail. Use a pair of sturdy scissors to trim off the dorsal spines that run all along the back of the fish.

2. Place the fish pieces in a shallow dish, then sprinkle with the crushed garlic and lemon juice. Season with a little salt and pepper. Turn with your hands, so that each piece is coated. Leave for half an hour, turning the pieces again half way through.

3. Spread seasoned flour out onto a plate. Take two frying pans, and heat one third of the butter with about one third of the oil in one of the pans. As the butter heats up, quickly peel the bananas, and put them into the pan. Fry
gently, turning once or twice, until golden brown and cooked through. Keep warm.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter and oil in the second pan. Coat the pieces of scabbard in seasoned flour and gently fry for about 2 minutes on each side until just cooked through. You may need to do this in two batches.

5. Arrange the fish on a warm serving dish and top with the bananas. Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately with the lemon wedges.

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