You and your Valentine make an outstanding couple. Likewise, the ingredients in the following recipes can certainly stand alone, but when brought together make for one stellar dish.
STEAK + FOIS GRAS
This is a marriage made in heaven between the richness of the fois gras and the savoriness of a perfectly cooked steak. You will not be disappointed. Try Hangar for a variation on the usual filet.
SCALLOPS + BACON
Sometimes the obvious choice is right under your nose. This pairing has been around forever, but is so simple we usually dismiss it. The sweetness of the scallops and the smokiness of the bacon were made for each other.
CHICKEN + WINE
We know what you are thinking, "chicken for a special occasion?!" But you need to trust the French. The French know love. Slow braising a succulent, free-range chicken in a good red wine and brandy transforms this dish into something seriously seductive.
FILET + LOBSTER
This pairing is a classic, like red lipstick and a crisp white dress shirt. This is by far our most popular order every Valentine's Day. Any why not? It's straightforward and luxurious, plus a breeze to prepare. Both the filet and lobster tail can be tossed on the grill and done in a jiffy. This is low-maintenance perfection.
To take this pairing to the next level, top both with a rich herbed butter.
Herbed Butter Recipe from the Kitchn
It's January, the winter chill has finally set in, and nothing sounds better than curling up with a hearty, filling stew. Don't sacrifice your New Year's resolutions just yet. Try this satisfying and light Cioppino instead of something that will weigh you down.
Cioppino is an Italian-American fish stew that originated in San Francisco, California. Originally it was made on boats while out at sea and later became a staple in Italian restaurants.
You can add all sorts of seafood to this stew — clams, mussels, shrimp, white fishes, salmon, octopus — you name it. Serve it with white wine and some crusty bread to sop up the flavorful broth.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 pound clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks
Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.
Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
If you are looking for an impressive (but simple to prepare) Valentine meal that never fails, the Surf & Turf is the dish for you. It's essence is in its simplicity — an amazing cut of meat, a rich and succulent offering from the sea. That's it. It's almost no-frills, yet it's ALL frills.
The Organic Butcher carries only the highest-quality beef. We offer dry-aged, pasture raised and 100% grass-fed filets. Our Maine lobster tails are trap caught in the wild, then immediately frozen to lock in freshness. We have 7-8 oz and 10-12 oz options available.
As an added Valentine bonus, lobster has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. You can read more about that here.
The filet mignon comes from the beef tenderloin, the most tender part of the cow. Don't spend a lot of time worrying about seasoning this cut, it's delicious with just coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper. Be sure to bring the meat to room temperature before cooking. Melt some butter and olive oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet, then pan-sear and finish in the oven to your desired done-ness. We recommend medium rare.
Optional: Deglaze the pan with some red wine and reduce for a simple sauce.
Broiling lobster brings out the incredible sweetness of the meat. Be careful not to over-cook. Once the meat turns an opaque white, remove from the oven.
Broiled Lobster Tails with Garlic-Chili Butter
2-4 8 ounces fresh or frozen lobster tails
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
Clarified Butter (optional)
Thaw lobster tails, if frozen. Preheat broiler. Butterfly the lobster tails or cut in half length-wise. Place lobster tails, meat side up, on the unheated rack of a broiler pan.
In a small skillet cook garlic, orange peel, and chili powder in butter over medium heat about 30 seconds or until garlic is tender. Brush mixture over lobster meat.
Broil 4 inches from heat for 8-12 minutes (depending on size) or until lobster meat is opaque. If desired, serve with Clarified Butter.
Serve your filet and lobster with a simple salad topped with Crane Crest Real French Dressing. This dressing from Massachusetts has gained a cult following even though it has no website.
Crane Crest uses a secret recipe passed down from Gordon Crane, a World War II soldier who developed it while stationed in Paris. It is mostly oil, with secret spices that settle at the bottom. Believe us when we say it's life-changing. It might even score you some extra points this Valentine's Day!
Set the mood this weekend with aphrodisiac foods, such as shellfish, that are packed with vitamins and minerals that improve one's mood, increase desire and heighten potency.
Aside from chocolate, the most well-known aphrodisiac is oysters. Oysters are high in zinc which can regulate certain hormones and increase testosterone. Just as legend has it, these slurpable bivalves really will "make you strong!"
The Organic Butcher carries a few different varieties including Kumamotos. These popular oysters are mild with a sweet after-taste. If you've never had an oyster before, this is a good one to try since they are not overtly briny in flavor.
Serve oysters on the half-shell with lemons, hot sauce (also an aphrodisiac) and a vinegar mignonette such as the one below.
Hog Island Oyster Company Hog Wash
Makes enough for 3 dozen oysters
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 large shallot, peeled, minced
1 large jalapeño pepper (optional), seeded, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. When serving, stir the Hogwash beforehand to include all the ingredients in the bowl. Place a teaspoon or so over freshly shucked oysters. Use the Hogwash the same day it's made.
For other recipe ideas check out this list from Saveur Magazine.
Scallops have been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient times when it was believed Aphrodite (Venus) was sent from heaven to earth on a half-shell. Modern science has now backed this claim. Like oysters, the zinc in scallops increases blood flow and promotes the release of hormones.
Science aside, scallops are luscious, sweet, plump little creatures that are a delight to eat. They are also surprisingly rich, making them an obvious choice for a decadent meal.
Typically scallops are seared — which is delicious — but prepared as sashimi or in a ceviche, they are transcendent. Below is a recipe for a bright and spicy ceviche that will really get your heart pumping.
Scallop Crudo (Bon Appetit)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably organic
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
1/2 pound large sea scallops, side muscle removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
Whisk orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, oil, ginger, chile, and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour dressing onto 4 large rimmed plates. Arrange scallops over. Garnish with mint and chives. Season lightly with salt.
Lobster falls into the aphrodisiac category because of its reputation as a luxury item. The deep red shell is the color most associated with passion and the act of eating lobster with your hands is considered highly sensual.
Both lobster and the related langoustine have a sweet, succulent and delicate flavor. The biggest difference between the two is size. While one lobster can make a whole meal, langoustines are perfect as an appetizer.
Langoustines are extremely easy to prepare. Simply cut them lengthwise and sauté in a pan with olive oil or herbed butter.
Lobster is usually steamed or grilled during the summer, but during colder months pan-roasting is just as good, if not better. The recipe below is sure to impress.
Jasper White's Pan-Roasted Lobster (NY Times Cooking)
2 live 1 1/2-to-2-pound lobsters
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
¼ cup bourbon
2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon chervil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. For each lobster, place it on a cutting board, facing you. Place the front tip of a heavy knife in the center of the lobster, near where the carapace meets the tail. In one forceful, swift motion, split the front half of the lobster lengthwise, which will kill it instantly. Turn it around and repeat this motion, splitting the tail and the lobster in half.
Pull the head sac out of both halves. Use fingers or surgical tweezers to remove the intestines. Place the tomalley and roe, if there is any, in a small bowl and use a fork to break it into tiny pieces; cover and refrigerate. With a knife, remove the claws and knuckles by cutting the thin sections where the knuckles meet the body. With the back side of the knife, tap the claws until the shells crack. In another swift, forceful motion, cut the tail from the body on both sides.
Place a heavy 12-inch saute pan over the highest heat possible and heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the oil and heat until it forms a film over the bottom of the pan. Slide the lobster sections, shells down, into the hot oil. Using tongs, move the pieces and flatten them to sear all the shells evenly. The claws need to be seared on only one side.
Add the tomalley and roe and stir; place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove, return to high heat on the stove top, add the shallots and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon; return to the heat, where the bourbon will probably ignite. Cook until the flames die down, add the wine and cook until the pan is almost dry. Reduce the heat to low.
Quickly remove the lobster and place shell-side down on warm plates. Return the pan to low heat, add the butter, chervil and chives and stir until the mixture resembles a creamy sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon the sauce over the lobster and serve.
If cutting and cleaning lobsters is not your thing, we also sell lobster tails.
Served hot or cold, shellfish is sure to heat things up!
Call us anytime to place your order for your Valentine meal