This valentine’s day avoid the crowds and hassle of getting a reservation and surprise your loved one with a home cooked meal. The effort and thought wont go unnoticed, we promise! Score some major points with some of the sample recipes or create your own dishes just don’t forget all the bell’s and whistles. Impress your date by using local and obscure ingredients or take the time to talk to your neighborhood wine seller about hot wines that will compliment your menu. Candles, a nice table setting and getting all dressed up will top off the evening and keep the flame going all night long, if you catch our drift! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Pear, Date and Cabrales with toasted Almonds and Wild Arugula – Vanilla Oil
Pair with: Jelu, Torrontés – 2011
Pumpkin Seed crusted Salmon with Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber salad – fresh Herbs
Pair with: Anjou Rouge, Mosse – 2008
Chocolate Espresso Pudding with Chantilly Cream and Mint Wafer
Pair with: Schramsberg, Brut Rosé – 2008
Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon
with Tomato, Cucumber, Avocado, Red onion and Herb Salad & Lemon Confit
Serves 4 people
Seedless (English) Cucumber – 1 whole – not peeled – sliced into half moons
Grape tomato – 1 Pint, cut in half
Avocado – 2 Whole ripe – cut into large dice before serving
Red Onion – 1 whole – slice paper thin
Lemon – 2
Lime – 1
Basil – 1 sprig
Mint – 1 sprig
Cilantro – 1 sprig
Paprika – 1 small bottle or 1 cup
Olive oil – 2 cups
Salt– to taste
Pumpkin seed (pepitas) – ½ cup – chop coarsely
Balsamic vinegar – 1 bottle
Atlantic Salmon Filet (wild)– four 6-8oz portions
Pickling Liquid – boil all ingredients together
1 cup sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup hot water
½ tspn – Whole black peppercorns
1 Bay leaf
½ tspn Coriander seed
Thyme – sprig
Slice lemon on a electric slicer (if available) about half inch thick. Pickle in very hot pickling liquid and let cool.
For the crust
Ground pumpkin seeds in a spic grinder with regular paprika and a pinch of salt. Set aside to dust fish with.
make paprika oil by using a small sauce pot of 1 cup canola oil and ¼ cup ground paprika. Heat to extract color and then strain.
make balsamic reduction by using a small sauce pot (1qt) and filling it almost to the top with balsamic vinegar. Let cook over low heat until reduced to a syrupy consistency.
Prep vegetables and herbs– set aside until salad is put together
Cut pear tomato into halves, slice red onion in whole circles -paper thin.
Cut cucumber in half long ways and then slice into half moon slices
Basil, cilantro and mint can be chiffonade and mixed altogether
To COOK and ASEMBLE the dish
Coat the Salmon filet in the pumpkin seed crust. Heat a sauté pan with canola oil until it is almost smoking. Pan sear the salmon and finish in a 400 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. To medium temp. finish with a pinch of salt.
While the fish is cooking prepare the salad. In a mixing bowl toss the tomato, cucumber, red onion, drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, half a lime, salt and toss.
Cut avocado into large dice. Gently toss avocado into salad as not to mush it.
Put the salad into a serving bowl or plate. Place the salmon filet on top and salad, lemon confit on top of the fish and drizzle paprika oil and balsamic around the plate. And serve.