Madeiran Banana Fish Recipe

Madeira… A tropical island in the middle of the ocean, a dazzling palette of colours, aromas and, of course, tastes. Matt and I had the opportunity to visit this corner of paradise and we absolutely fell in love with the island, but also with the Madeiran cuisine.

Today I would like to share with you one of the most famous recipes of the inhabitants of this wonderful island. Fish fillet with fried bananas! 🙂

Fish and fried bananas?, you ask. And I answer: Sim, Espada com Banana.

And although the strange combination of these two ingredients are almost incompatible, I can assure you that you will make this recipe again and again once you have tried it.

What Type of Fish?

Madeira is an island and a long way from the mainland. They eat here what can be caught in the sea or grown in the foothills. This typical dish uses black scabbard fish, a monster that lives in the Atlantic Ocean, and is found here in vast numbers. This creature lives in the depths, but at night it comes closer to the surface, especially near the coast, and then it finds its way into fishermen’s nets. In the morning it comes fresh to the kitchen, and by noon it is fried and breaded, smells delicious, and attracts passers-by.

What grows on a tropical island? Obviously bananas. They grow everywhere here: in every garden and on large plantations. They even make liqueur from bananas.

The puzzle is complete, and here is the most authentic local dish for you – fried scabbard fish with bananas.

History of the Madeiran Espada com Banana

How this dish came into being and who created it is still not known. Some believe that the idea was inspired by South American cuisine, where the combination of plantains with a main dish is common.

We can’t possibly know. But what we can know is how it tastes… Absolutely delicious!

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How to make Madeiran banana fish😊
amazing madeirian banana fish

Madeiran Banana Fish Recipe

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Madeira has a peculiar delicacy. Banana and fish don't appear to go together at first, that is, until you try this amazing local dish, 'espada com banana.'


Fish and banana recipe

  • White fish fillets: 2
  • Garlic cloves: 2
  • Banana: 2
  • Egg: 2
  • lemon: 1
  • Salt and pepper: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp
  • Breadcrumbs: 150 g
  • Wheat flour: 150 g
  • Vegetable oil or olive oil (for frying)
  • Maracuya: 2

Side dish idea

  • Potato: 2
  • Carrots: 2
  • Broccoli: 1
  • (Optional) Any veggies of your choice


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare the side dish by cutting the potato, carrots and broccoli (or other veggies of your choice), seasoning them and spreading them out across an oiled baking tray. Place in the oven at 180 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until soft.

    prepare veggies for side dish
  2. For the marinade, mix garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Roll each piece of fish well in this mixture and leave for 15 minutes.

    marinade fish for 15 min
  4. Prepare 3 plates: one with flour, one with a beaten egg, and one with breadcrumbs. Roll each of the fish fillets in flour, then in eggs and finally in breadcrumbs.

    fish in batter
  5. Fry the breaded fish in olive oil in a non-stick pan for 3-4 minutes on each side. When ready, lay the fried fish on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

  6. Fry banana halfs in the same frying pan for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Spread on top of the fish.

    amazing fried bananas
  7. Serve the fried fish with fried banana on top and the vegetables on the side, and then squeeze a maracuya over the top to create the sauce.


  • As it can be difficult to find black scabbard fish, you can use any white fish fillets for this recipe.
  • As a side dish, you can serve any vegetables of your choice. Fried or boiled potatoes work as well. We used sweet potato wedges one time and they were amazing! Next time, I would like to try mashed sweet potato as a side dish.
  • Green salad also adds some freshness to this unique combination of flavours.

Enjoy your Madeira Banana Fish like a local

If you aren’t heading to Madeira to try this dish yourself anytime soon, then we hope you enjoyed this rather odd Portuguese delicacy. If you are going to Madeira, make sure you check out our unmissable things to see there. Don’t hesitate to check out our other Portuguese recipes like pastel de nata for dessert!

Do you want to know another banana recipe? Check out our banana bites recipe for a perfect Sunday morning breakfast.

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