Easy Date Night Dishes for Valentine’s Day | Valentine’s Day
What simple but impressive date night dishes would you recommend for Valentine’s Day?
As Coconut & Sambal author Lara Lee wisely points out: “Valentine’s Day is Monday this year, so do as little dishwashing as possible.” The solution? Turn up the heat with Thai green curry or red curry. “I’ve been exploring the world of premium curry pastes that you can get in Asian supermarkets,” said Lee, who likes Mae Ploy, Maesri, Pantai, Nittaya and Lobo brands. “Fry it with a little oil, add a few cans of coconut milk, protein and veggies of your choice, and – voila! – you’ve got curry.” Lee, however, did “pimp” in, throwing in a few kaffir lime leaves ( “I always have a bucket in the fridge”), bruised lemongrass and grated ginger. “Then it can simmer while you sip wine and listen to Kenny G.”
Ravinder Bhogal, chef/owner of Jikoni in London, says shareable food such as meze is a good option. “I also love seafood, especially scallops. They just take a little time to cook, or try ceviche.” Emily Scott is the chef and owner of Emily Scott Food in Watergate, Cornwall, She’s also #teamscallops, where she frys it before dousing it with the classic baijiu. “Pair with new potatoes and veggies, or, if it’s an appetizer, some nice bread to make them more like a main course.”
A big pot of “comfortable but delicate” fish stew is sure to make your night (or any night) special, Scott added. While this may sound like a chore for a Monday, you can always make the base the day before (chopped onion and fennel, garlic, canned tomatoes, a pinch of saffron, and fish or vegetable stock). “Then what you do for the day is cook any fish you want in this sauce—mussels, clams, prawns, herring.” Oh, and a saffron aioli (“or cheat and buy egg yolks) sauce”) to spread on the accompanying crostini.
Mussels and clams are also perfect partners for linguine, Bhogal says: “You might also have a ‘Miss and the Tramp’ moment.” More pasta slurps can be found in puttanesca, which Scott points out because of its red color And get bonus points. Heat some olive oil in a pan, then “add canned cherry tomatoes and a few chopped garlic cloves, capers, oregano, some chili flakes or half a chopped red pepper, black olives, and anchovies.” Soak, pour over cooked pasta and serve with chopped parsley.
Valentine’s Day is of course for friends with a sweet tooth. “I love making jellies,” says Bhogal, who recommends rhubarb and custard. “Gorgeous pink, like a freshly spanked ass with a glass of wine in it to make it both happy and mature.” Happily, this can also be done ahead of time. The same goes for old-fashioned chocolate mousse or focaccia, where Scott cuts the figs in half, sprinkles them with sugar, and caramelizes them under the grill. “And something dipped in chocolate is always good, isn’t it?” It’s as easy to cook for two as it is for one, because, Scott says, “it’s also important to cook for yourself.”
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