This year we’re feeling like laying it on a little thick for Valentine’s Day. Thick, as in substantial lamb chops, thick peach puree infusing our bellinis, dense crème fraîche dolloped on our strawberries, wide ribbons of caramel draping over platters of figs and mascarpone. There are so many other days of the year to be austere and reserved; Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to be…not austere and reserved.
Now, perhaps you have a significant other, or an object of your affection in dire need of wooing. Turn up the dial to 11 and lavish them with edible attention. Or perhaps this year you’re hanging with your friends or family, and celebrating love in a more by-and-large way. It’s ok, you can’t curry love…oh wait yes you can.
1. James Peterson’s Shrimp Risotto. A great thing to remember about risotto is that it continues to cook a bit (and thicken) after it comes off the heat, so when you think you’re about done, add a bit more liquid so it will retain that nice loose consistency even while you’re plating it up. This is actually a great date night dish, because you and your partner can take turns stirring while the other pours the wine and sets the table. Shrimp and saffron are a gorgeous and classic risotto combo.
2. Nigella Lawson’s Bellini. Certainly a flute of sparkling wine is a lovely way to toast your main squeeze on Valentine’s Day. But if you want to show off a bit (or if you are having a party) this is another way to go. This famous drink is a simple and eternally pleasing blend of Prosecco (sparkling wine from Italy) and white peach puree, which–at this time of year–you can buy premade at specialty food shops or online.
3. Christopher Idone’s Oysters Rockefeller. This most famous of all the oyster dishes was invented around 1900, and its roots can be traced back to Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Apparently Jules Alciatore, the son of the founder, developed this dish and exclaimed, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!” Sample a few of these warm oysters nestled under a bed of creamy chopped spinach, parsley, scallions, all seasoned up with a hit of vermouth and lemon, and see if you agree.
4. Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso’s Salmon Caviar Hearts. Look, we think caviar is more than welcome all year long, but clearly its price tag makes it a more special-occasion food for most of us. But when caviar tops a heart-shaped toast slathered with a flavorful cream cheese spread, well, it just makes us glad we were patient.
And click here for 6 more Valentine’s Day recipes, including Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Shrimp Curry, Marcella Hazan’s Sauteed Veal Chops with Mushrooms and White Wine, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Steamed Lobster with Garlic-Ginger-Basil Sauce, Dorie Greenspan’s Crème Fraîche, and more!