No, this post will not be gruesome as the title may suggest. It will, however, feature a bevy of roasted food. Because when you’re eating healthy…sauteeing veggies in butter is NOT the way to go…sadly *sigh*
Our Valentine’s Dinner Menu consisted of:
- Roasted Butternut Squash & Roasted Asparagus
- Pan-Seared Roasted Monkfish, Pan-Seared Scallops, & Toasted Garlic & Onion Pappardelle topped with a tangy Saffron infused Béchamel
Hungry yet? Yeah…I bet you are.
First thing’s first: Get yer veggies roasting. They take the most time, and as we’ve learned: Timing is everything.
Grab a vegetable peeler and peel the squash. Slice ’em in half lengthwise and scoop out the guts. Then dice them into 1″ cubes.
What I love about sweet squash (pumpkin, butternut, acorn) is that you can go sweet or savory with the seasonings. For this exercise, I tossed in cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of tumeric, salt and as little olive oil as possible. For roasting, it is essential for the veggies to be coated in some form of fat, otherwise your stuff will just char under that high heat. Unless blackened veggies are your thing. Then char away.
The Asparagus was tossed in dry mustard, white pepper and sea salt (and as little EVOO as possible)
Spread one layer evenly on a heavy duty pan. Roast at 400° for at least 30-35 minutes. Check every so often, tossing and turning to ensure even browning.
Now the monkfish, we’ve never had it before. The fella at the Shrimp Dock told me it was “poor man’s lobster”. That was all I needed to hear. One thing I did learn…ummm…it’s ugly. Like…just, ugly. So, (when in doubt) I gave it a liberal sprinkling of salt & pepper and tossed it in a SCREAMING hot cast iron skillet. About 2-3 minutes on one side, flip it over and place it in the 400° for 8-10 minutes. It’s done when you can get a knife down in the meat with little to no resistance. Monkfish has a tendency to dry out easily, so be careful not to overcook it. After it’s rested for 4-5 minutes. Slice them into discs (I know, weird).
About 2 minutes before everything was ready to come out of the oven, I started the Scallops. They are tediously delicate and insanely easy to overcook. You CANNOT blink an eye while doing this.
Most scallops you find will be stored in a milky white liquid. Drain and rinse. Pat them dry thoroughly (otherwise they won’t brown) and hit them with some salt & pepper. I get a shallow stainless pan and heat some clarified butter to as hot as it can stand. Gently set the scallops down in there and let it sear for 60-90 seconds, gently flip them over. Give them 45-60 seconds on this side and call them done. Serve them immediately. This method should give you a beautiful golden brown crust, while the inside remains tender and creamy. I like to drizzle the tiniest amount of truffle oil on them for that extra richness. HEAVEN, every time.
Now…what to put on top of all this ocean dwelling protein? How about a tangy Béchamel sauce?
Where to go for that? Hmmm…who’s a French cooking legend? Oh wait! Julia! (like you didn’t see that coming) Her classic sauce is a simple French staple. Recipe at the bottom.
The Garlic-Toasted Onion Pappardelle was in our Christmas gift basket from our dear friends o’er at Browniebites. It was nom noms.
For dessert (what? It’s Valentine’s Day!) Kara whipped up some yummy Chocolate Banana Souffles she found on that thingy called Pinterest. They are actually a Skinnytaste recipe – we love Skinnytaste.
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups hot milk
- pinch of salt
1) Melt the butter on medium heat, add the flour, we’re making a white roux here. We don’t want any color.
2) Remove from heat slowly pour in the hot milk while stirring constantly to whisk out any lumps.
3) Return to heat, bring to slight boil while whisking for about a minute.
4) Remove from heat, add salt and any other flavorings. In this case, I put a pinch (literally) of saffron in there for a nice floral element.
Look at that! You’re practically French! (good thing? bad thing?)
What do you do for V-Day? Brave the crowds and go out for a romantic dinner? Stay at home in your PJ’s and watch trashy rom-coms?