Last night after work, I had a small problem. Earlier in the week, I'd stopped by the wine store, and they were tasting this interesting white Bordeaux (Chateaux Villa Bel-Air Graves 2002) that has tons of oak and malolactic fermentation and was only $12. So I grabbed some.
This wine may be impeccably French, but it could drop by Veronica Mars' for lunch with the girls and nobody would know that it was an exchange student. But what do I know?
Except when I got to the cash register, the wine actually was $21. Oh well. I got a couple of bottles anyway. We'd had half a bottle on Wednesday, so I wanted to cook something that would go well with the remaining half.
Also, since preparations for CAQDAS and Tinderbox Weekend UK are in full swing, it was already late. So I needed something that was fast, easy, could be made with ingredients on hand.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a baking disk.
- Strew the baking disk with a diced shallot.
- Slice mushrooms to cover the shallots. (Next time, I might dice them for a quick and dirty duxelles. But slicing is fine). Don't skimp; plenty of mushrooms.
- Split a banana. Lay bananas across the mushrooms.
- Layer some fish filets on the bananas. (I used tilapia)
- Split a vanilla bean, scrap out the seeds with a sharp knife, and rub on the fish. Then sliver the beans and nestle amongst the mushrooms.
- Add a little wine. I didn't want to use that lovely Graves for cooking, so I grabbed 1/4c of madiera and a little vermouth. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Cover with some lightly-buttered parchement. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve. (I reduced the sauce first, but you don't have to)
You say, “Banana?” I got the idea from the cook on the Amazon trip, who used either banana or plantain in a fish braise. Which? Couldn't find out. I tried banana, since it was handy; if the answer was really “plantain”, I figured the banana would tell me. It held up surprisingly well to 25 minutes in the oven; when finished, it was sweet and roasted and savory but not mushy.
You say, “Vanilla?” That idea came from Catalina, in Sydney. But it coordinates with the Amazon spirit of the thing.
What was missing? It needs a chewy green. Maybe kale? Or baby bok choi? But good!