by Arianna Johnson
Yes, I am turning twenty-one this month! So what should I write about? The obvious choice would be cocktails, but, instead, I decided to share my favorite meal with you.
Everyone has that one comfort food that makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and, once you put it in your mouth, you feel like you’re floating on a cloud….There are also some foods I like to call “bucket-meals”: just like people have bucket-lists, I propose they have bucket-meals (the last thing you’d want to eat before you die).
I’ve only just begun my culinary journey, so this is only my favorite meal thus far, but I’m sure it will be constantly changing. The meal worth dying for is pan seared Chilean Sea Bass with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Bananas Foster for dessert.
My aunt and uncle served Bananas Foster one day. The dessert was invented in Brennan’s, a well-known restaurant in New Orleans, and has become one of the staple desserts of the city. It turns out my uncle was right about it being something different and amazing, and ever since then it has become my favorite dessert.
I fell in love with the Chilean sea bass when I took my first bite on a trip out on the North Fork. The fish was moist, flaky, and had a wonderful crust on it from the hot pan. From that day forward, I had to tell salmon and tuna to take a hike…
Hope you enjoy my “bucket meal”. Here are the recipes, if you want to try them out:
Chilean Sea Bass with Wild Mushroom Risotto (Serves 4)
1 lb Chilean sea bass, 4 ounces per person
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 ½ to 5 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp dried Chanterelle mushrooms,
reconstituted and chopped
1 pint crimini mushrooms,sliced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Place stock and dried mushrooms in a pot and bring to a boil; take out mushrooms and chop, then cover and reduce to low heat. In a large pan, heat up oil over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 8–10 minutes. Place mushrooms on a plate and set aside. Add more oil to the pan along with onions and garlic and cook until tender (approx. 8 minutes). Add rice and toast for about 1 minute. Ladle stock into the pan a half cup at a time and stir frequently. When risotto is about three-quarters of the way done (approx. 15 minutes), heat a stainless steel pan over high heat; bring oil up to temperature. Pat fish dry and coat in salt and pepper. Gently place fish in pan and cook until crisp and brown (about 3–5 minutes); flip over and brown on other side. To finish the risotto, add the crimini and chanterelle mushrooms and parmesan cheese; stir until fully incorporated.
Bananas Foster (Serves 4)
4 ripe bananas,quartered
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup banana liqueur
½ cup dark rum
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Cut bananas in half, then in half again long-ways. Place a large pan over medium heat and melt butter. Whisk in brown sugar and cinnamon and let cook until it begins to bubble. Place sliced bananas in pan and cook until softened (5–8minutes). Add rum and banana liqueur, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 5 minutes or take a long-necked lighter and light alcohol; then, let the flame burn out. Scoop ice cream into bowls and spoon banana mixture over the top. Serve immediately.