Fancy doesn’t necessary mean complicated when it comes to cooking, as these two simple yet sophisticated entrees demonstrate. And that makes them great choices for a Valentine’s Day dinner for your loved one when you want everything to turn out perfectly.
Whether you are an experienced or novice cook, you can pull off these entrees in about 30 minutes, including a starch and vegetable. The proteins — fish and beef — cook in a lot less time than that.
Yet they produce restaurant-worthy dishes that will cost you a lot less at home while simultaneously impressing the heck out of your Valentine.
For lighter appetites, try a simply sauteed fish fillet. A nice piece of fish doesn’t need anything more than maybe a bit of lemon and butter. But to rise to a special occasion, add some toasted nuts, as in the following recipe for Fish Amandine.
The fish is dredged in a bit of flour — which will help make it crisp and golden — and then sauteed for a few minutes on each. Use thin fillets — such as flounder, sole, tilapia or trout — that will be cooked through by the time the outsides brown.
Once the fish is cooked, remove it to a plate and toss in some nuts, stirring until toasted. Then mix the nuts and butter with some lemon juice and you have an incredibly delicious topping in a matter of minutes. A little white wine is optional, but will help you extract more flavor from all the browned bits in the pan.
Fork-tender and good for you, too (provided you go easy on the butter), fish amandine is a dish that will have you falling in love with fish, and maybe the cook, too.
For the meat lover in your life, splurge on a nice steak, such as filet mignon, cut from the small end of a beef tenderloin.
Other cuts have a more robust beef flavor, but you can’t beat the tenderloin for tenderness (which seems appropriate for Valentine’s Day).
Feel free to substitute rib-eye or flank steak, or even top sirloin if you are on a budget.
What really makes this dish is the sauce, a foolproof rich and creamy concoction whose secret ingredient is a bit of blue cheese. Blue cheese and beef is a match made in heaven, but if blue cheese isn’t to your taste, have no fear — substitute a little Dijon mustard instead and the recipe produces a marvelous mustard cream sauce.