06 Feb Special of the day: A Happy Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two
Sometimes your very favorite restaurant in town happens to be your house, especially when love is in the air, and you’re looking to wish your special someone a Happy Valentine’s Day. This week’s Special of the day menu is sure to warm the heart of your loved one: Lobster Pot Pies with Tarragon and Champagne Beurre Blanc and Heart-shaped Pavlovas with Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.
Flaky layers of perfectly browned puff pastry blanketing succulent lobster bathed in tarragon-infused Champagne Beurre Blanc meld for a gastronomic match made in heaven. The beauty behind this entrée is the ease with which it comes together. If you can simmer and whisk (and really, who among us cannot?), you can master beurre blanc, and once you’ve pulled that off, you’re well on your way to wowing whomever it is you’ve invited to dinner on Valentine’s Day.
Having done the preheating, your red hot oven should be raring to go, so why not slide a pan of olive oil-drizzled sliced vegetables on the bottom oven rack 10 or 15 minutes before you pop the Lobster Pot Pies in to bake, pulling together a Happy Valentine’s Day dinner for two to remember.
Dessert is a done deal when you’ve taken a few minutes to whip up a couple of homemade heart-shaped pavlovas, which incidentally pair perfectly with cherry vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, ending your evening on a sweet note on this most romantic of holidays, Valentine’s Day.
Cook up some love in the kitchen with this week’s Special of the day: A Happy Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two of recipes for Lobster Pot Pies with Tarragon and Champagne Beurre Blanc and Heart-shaped Pavlovas with Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce. Enjoy!
Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.
Lobster Pot Pies with Tarragon and Champagne Beurre Blanc
1 cup champagne
1 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
½ cup butter, cut into 1 tbsp. pats
½ tsp. Kosher salt
2 lobster tails (thawed, if frozen)
2 tsp. fresh tarragon, minced
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed about 40 minutes
1 egg, beaten
Fresh tarragon sprigs, for garnish
*Note: Make sure puff pastry sheet is thawed before you begin.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Make the Champagne Beurre Blanc:
Heat medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add champagne and shallots and bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half, watching carefully. Strain sauce to remove shallots and return to saucepan. Add ½ cup butter, one tbsp, at a time, whisking until incorporated before adding additional butter. Whisk in salt. Keep warm.
Using sharp kitchen shears, cut lobster tail shells down the middle on both sides and remove lobster meat from both lobster tails. Place in sauce pan with warm Champagne Beurre Blanc. Gently poach the lobster just until it starts to turn opaque, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
Add tarragon and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
Roll thawed puff pastry sheet out on lightly floured surface. Cut two five inch squares of puff pastry to cover pot pies. Then use small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out puff pastry hearts.
Distribute Lobster in Champagne Beurre Blanc evenly into two large ramekins or other individual baking dishes. Drape a puff pastry square atop each ramekin. Using a pastry brush, paint puff pastry with beaten egg. Then arrange puff pastry hearts on top of pastry squares and brush with beaten egg. Press edges of puff pastry squares down to adhere to ramekins.
Set Lobster Pot Pies on rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, just until pastry is golden brown and flaky. Garnish with fresh tarragon sprigs. Enjoy!
Heart-shaped Pavlovas with Cherry Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce
2 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. cream of tartar
½ cup sugar
Cherry vanilla ice cream, for serving
Chocolate sauce, for garnish
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and beat until well-mixed. Add sugar one tbsp. at a time, beating to incorporate before adding additional sugar.
Cut parchment to fit baking sheet. Draw heart-shaped outlines (4-5 inches in diameter) on sheet of parchment. Pipe or spoon meringue onto parchment to make heart-shaped pavlovas.
Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on parchment.
(This recipe makes 4-6 pavlovas.)
When ready to serve, place one heart-shaped pavlova in the center of each dessert dish. Top with scoops of cherry vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Enjoy!
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.