Are you looking to impress someone special on Valentine’s Day? Chef Mike Palazzola is here to help! He’s offered up his expertise to create an unforgettable meal for the occasion.
“I am a big fan of ‘less is more,’ said Chef Mike. “I have a three-course meal that is somewhat ‘fool proof’ and is guaranteed to make most people happy.”
Course One: Caesar Salad with Parmesan Basket
Parmesan Basket: Preheat broiler to high, then scatter a thin layer of fresh Parmesan on a sil-pat (a silicone cooking mat). Cook until golden brown, which should only take about three minutes. Remove the warm Parmesan and put it on the back of an everyday bowl to allow it to form. Allow it to cool before removing it.
Caesar Salad: Cut romaine into half-inch cubes and wash. Be sure the lettuce gets dry!
Toss Romaine, dressing, and croutons in small bowl. Dressing should lightly coat all ingredients.
Serve in Parmesan crisp bowl and top with shaved/shredded Parmesan and croutons.
For the dressing, you can buy it at the store or make it yourself. Here is a recipe I like: Caesar Dressing
Course Two: Surf and Turf with Roasted Asparagus and Twice-Baked Potatoes
You can’t go wrong with a little steak and shrimp! For the steak, I like 12-ounce New York Strips or 6-ounce Fillet Mignons.
Rub the steaks with ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce. You’ll also want to sprinkle salt and pepper on the steaks (to taste). Let them set for about ten minutes. Drizzle the steaks with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil before hitting the grill or pan.
Sear the steaks in very hot pan/grill for ten minutes on each side. Remove from heat onto baking tray to rest while you finish the rest of the cooking. When you have 20 minutes left on the rest of your meal, pop the steaks in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. The steaks should be medium rare at this point. Put two teaspoons of butter on top of the steak and allow it to rest at room temperature for five minutes before eating.
- 8 pieces 16-20 shrimp (raw)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of shallots and garlic, minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 cup- 40% heavy cream
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
In a hot Sauté pan add the olive oil and the shrimp, sear one minute on both sides. Remove from pan. In the same pan add garlic and shallots until translucent. Deglaze with wine, add cream and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Return shrimp to cream sauce, add juice and zest of lemon, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
- 3 medium russet potatoes
- ¼ cup real bacon bits
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons Scallions or chives
- salt and pepper to taste
Bake one large russet potato for 45 minutes on 400. Allow the potato to cool, then cut the top and bottom off. Cut it in half (long ways) and scoop out the middle.
Peel and boil the remaining potatoes – cook for 45 minutes and mash. Mix with green onions, bacon bits, cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stuff scooped potato with filling and top with more shredded cheddar.
Bake for 30 minutes at 325 or until golden brown.
Cut ends off asparagus and toss with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste).
Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and roast at 425 for 10 minutes.
On a sheet tray roast asparagus at 425 for 10 minutes.
Course Three: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Macerated Berries and Vanilla Ice Cream
If you aren’t too full after the first two courses, there is a Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe that is a perfect end to a perfect meal. You’ll want to serve it with macerated berries and ice cream.
- 4 strawberries, cut in ¼ pieces
- 10 blueberries
- 10 raspberries
- 5 leaves mint, chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp triple sec, Quantro
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. You’ll watch the berries transform into a juicy sauce. Place the cake in the center of the plate, and put a small pile of berries and juices on either side of cake. Top with a scoop of ice cream.
Go ahead and get the grocery shopping out of the way as soon as you can. You can also go ahead and make the Caesar dressing and chocolate cake ahead of time. The cake can easily be warmed up in the microwave for about 20 seconds before you serve it. You’ll can also make the twice-baked potato ahead of time. This saves you some time on Valentine’s Day and a little bit of stress!
On February 13, go ahead and prepare the asparagus and scampi sauce. You’ll also want to thaw and peel the shrimp and cut and wash the lettuce.
On the day of the meal, finish what you started! Also, don’t forget to tell the person enjoying the meal with you how special they are!