This Was Lidia Bastianich's Most Unforgettable Family Meal

Chef, television personality, cookbook author and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich, has likely had countless incredible meals over the years, both from her own kitchen and from the world-class restaurants she frequents. When it comes to the most unforgettable family meal she's ever had, you might assume that the meal in question was something she dined on in Italy, or in a culinary hotspot like France. However, that couldn't be further from the truth — it turns out, Bastianich has a memory of a particular meal she enjoyed on a family vacation in Alaska, as Daily Beast reports. And no, it wasn't in a luxurious Michelin-starred restaurant.

Apparently, vacations are Bastianich's go-to gift when it comes to celebrating milestones with her grandchildren, so she arrived in Alaska alongside her grandson Miles to mark his high school graduation. Forget major Alaskan cities like Anchorage — the duo ended up staying at a lodge in remote Yakutat, Alaska, perfect conditions for Miles to test out his fishing stills in Alaskan waters. The kitchen staff at the lodge cooked simple meals for the guests, often based on what had been caught — and one day during their stay, Miles ended up snagging a 40-pound halibut.

The preparation of the freshly caught fish

In keeping with the general atmosphere of the casual lodge in remote Alaska, the kitchen staff didn't drown the fresh halibut in complicated sauce, or serve it alongside a fussy side-dish. The method of preparing the halibut was incredibly simple, as Bastianich recalled to Daily Beast, but it's all the fresh fish needed to really shine. The kitchen staff added a dash of salt, pepper, and paprika, and tossed the halibut in a cast-iron pan, eventually topping it with butter and some breadcrumbs. A little squeeze of lemon at the table was the only other addition to the recipe, and the fish was served up alongside some frozen green beans and a bottle of beer. Through the simple preparation, the fish was "buttery, briny, salty, and crispy all at the same time," said Bastianich.

Bastianich acknowledges that it wasn't just the kitchen staff's prowess with a cast iron pan that made the dish so memorable. As she explained, the halibut itself likely played a role, as did the setting, the memory-making nature of the trip, and even the company as she enjoyed spending some time with her grandson. Regardless, as she told Daily Beast, "I never had a better piece of fish or a better story to tell." Perhaps for Miles' next milestone, he'll be asking his grandmother for another Alaskan adventure, on the off chance that they can enjoy an unforgettable halibut feast together once more.