There is nothing sexier than making a great meal for your sweetheart. Why battle the hungry hoards on Valentine’s Day, and putting up with dumbed-down menus to accommodate the folks who venture out only on Valentine’s Day. Besides, this is THE DAY for the Serious Foodie to impress with a hand-crafted meal for the significant other(s) in our life, with matching wines, candle light, flowers, and other romantic touches. Before you dive into the recipe details, you should also take a look at the Serious Foodie 10 Steps for Sexy Meals (click HERE to see the article now).
While doing our research, we came a across some fun websites that talk about sexy meals:
- Bon Appetit poles 11 celebrity chefs on their sexiest meals ever (click HERE).
- There’s a website call Seduction Meals – the title says it all (click HERE).
- Food & Wine gives a very broad selection of menus (click HERE).
- We really liked the meals selected by Delish for Valentine’s Day (click HERE).
- What about the vegetarian in your life? Take a look at this great Buzzfeed article (click HERE).
Here’s five of the Serious Foodie favorite suggestions on what to serve that special person in your life.
Crudo & Sushi
In many ways, crudo & sashimi can be scary – but also un-complicated. If you are a bit adventurous, but haven’t yet tried to serve raw fish, then start with crudo (the Italian version). First, make sure you specify sushi-grade fish when shopping – this is especially important when preparing raw tuna or swordfish. We’ve found a very nice fluke crudo with Meyer lemon (click HERE) – you can also use turbot or flounder.
We also found a wonderful technique video on making sashimi (click HERE), along with a very special recipe for salmon sashimi with ginger and hot sesame oil (click HERE).
For wine pairings, think crisp and acidic whites (“dry”): Muscadet, Assyrtiko, Vinho Verde, Albariño. We are really fond of Lugano (made from the Trebbiano grape) – see our review HERE. A dry sparkling wine also works very well with raw fish.
There is nothing that screams “sexy” more than Italian food. Remember the spaghetti & meatball scene from Lady and the Tramp?
Italian food is essentially fresh ingredients, done simplely but elegantly. We’ve posted a number of Italian recipes on our website, including a risotto primer, homemade pizza, linguini with clams, red snapper with tomatoes & capers, and homemade pesto.
All the major food websites will have a ton of Italian meal suggestions. But also check out ItalianFoodForever.com, CaioItalia.com, and Italian.Food.com.
There are so many wonderful Italian wines that match well – but you can always migrate to the great Tuscan wines such as the Sangiovese-based wines like Chianti and Brunello (click HERE for our suggestions). We also published a list of some fine Tuscan wines under $25 (click HERE).
Duck, Pheasant, Quail & Game Meats
Maybe a little exotic, maybe a little harder to find – but duck, pheasant, quail and game meats are sure to WOW. If you live in a major metropolitan area, these ingredients can often be found in up-scale food stores, butchers, and your local grocery might even be able to source it. A great source for exotic poultry and meats is D’Artagnan (www.dartagnan.com) – they will ship anything overnight to your doorstep. They are also a great resource for recipes (duck, pheasant, quail, wild boar, etc.).
A simple way to start with more exotic poultry is duck breast – all you need is a good iron skillet and a little bit of patience. The Serious Foodie published a how-to video on perfect crispy skin duck a few months ago:
You’ll find lots of duck recipes at places like Epicurious, Food & Wine, and of course the Food Network. Check out the treasure trove of duck recipes published through the Huffington Post (click HERE).
Of course the perfect wine pairing with duck will be pinot noir – and we prefer the New World versions (see the Serious Foodie selection of California and Oregon pinot noirs – click HERE). With most game poultry, French white Burgundy is also a nice match.
For the red game meats like venison, wild boar, or rabbit, go with something more earthy & spicy – like Barolo (or a nebbiolo rosso), Chateauneuf du Pape, Priorat, Rioja, or an Australian Shiraz.
Surf & Turf
No one knows for sure how surf & turf became synonymous with Valentine’s Day – but somehow it shows up on most restaurant menus in one form or another on February 14.
You don’t have to stick to steak and lobster, but the grilled surf & turf with shallot garlic butter (click HERE) is one of our favorite quick & simple & elegant recipes. You can get very creative by adding other herbs, or some citrus, to the butter – or just keep it simple.
How about other variations:
- Grilled flank steak and shrimp;
- Filet and scallops;
- Small plates of steak tartar and smoked salmon
- Sliders – lobster salad and aged-beef hamburgers
Take a look at the recipes for some of these combinations at Coastal Living (click HERE). We found ten other much less traditional surf and turf recipes on Recipe4Living.com.
And we have to mention the magical mashed potatoes from Joel Robuchon – it’s a recipe that’s labor intensive, but worth the work (click HERE for the recipe).
The red wines for red meat are easy to match – anything with cabernet sauvignon as a component, such as Bordeaux or Super Tuscan wines. It’s hard to use a single bottle for surf and turf – most matches for the red meat will overwhelm the fish – but you can try softer reds, such as Dolcetto, Barbara, Chinon, and Old World Pinot Noir, which can match with both red meat and fish. For white wines, you will need more robust versions, such as chardonnay from California. Or you can just open two bottles.
Wine & Chocolate
Wine & chocolate – the perfect way to end a meal. The right wine with the right chocolate is a beautiful thing, and the Serious Foodie has a full article on the subject (click HERE). There is so much exploration to do, since there are so many interesting taste combinations to discover – nuts, fruits, types of chocolates – it really is an endless experiment.
In general, try to keep the wine sweeter than the chocolate. However, some dry wines with strong flavors will also work, depending the prevalent flavor notes of the wine. For example, wines such as Argentinian Malbec with a mocha undertone works well with chocolates having mocha flavors.
Sparkling wines that have a sweet side, such as Moscato D’Asti, Brachetto d’Acqui, Demi-Sec Champagne, Asti-Spumante, and Lambrusco, work well with most chocolate. The Brachetto has a distinctive raspberry flavor, which makes it work particularly well with any chocolate with fruity tones – or contrast it with dark chocolate.
Dessert wines, such as late harvest Riesling, ice wines, vin santo, port, are all very compatible with rich chocolate flavors.
We really like the article on WineFolly.com which gives a very in-depth review of wine/chocolate pairings (click HERE).
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