For many of us this year, Valentine’s Day will be a little different. All the things we knew and expected – crowded restaurants with cherry kitsch decor, menus named after the greatest casanova in history – can seem like heirlooms in a world where the definition of lockdown is all too familiar.
This is the bad news. The good? So that you don’t have to settle for leftovers from the night before, we identified with your Cupid and asked some of the most acclaimed chefs in the world to tell us about their favorite dishes for a date. And, as with dessert, the best comes at the end – all of these mouthwatering dishes are simple to make, without skimping on the wow factor. Food is the quickest way to the heart, after all.
1. The maple syrup chicken salad with caramelized pecans Faisal Aldeleigan
After 10 years of a successful career in finance, Aldeleigan left the business world behind to pursue his passion for cooking. Today, his Bahrain-based Chef Faisal Consultancy guides aspiring restaurateurs on the winding path that will lead them to success in the industry.
For two people
For the maple dressing:
15 ml of maple syrup
60 ml of extra virgin olive oil
20 ml of sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
1 pinch of lemon flavored salt
1 pinch of black pepper
1 pinch of garlic powder
Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Blend for 1 minute.
For the pecans
5 ml of extra virgin olive oil
10 ml of maple syrup
1 pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
20 g of pecans
Heat the oil, syrup, salt and cinnamon over low heat. Once hot, add the pecans and caramelize them.
For the salad:
130 g of red lettuce
100 g of iceberg lettuce
40 g of rocket
20 g of beetroot
200 g of grilled chicken
30 g of goat cheese
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Wash, dry and chop the lettuce and rocket. Cut the beetroot and grilled chicken into strips. Evenly cover the salad leaves with the maple dressing. On a plate, make several layers with the leaves, the grilled chicken and then the goat cheese. Finally, garnish with small pieces of cherry tomatoes, beetroot and caramelized pecans.
There are only five women in the world who have earned three Michelin stars – and the culinary deity Dominique Crenn is one of them. Recognized as the best female chef in the United States, Crenn’s French roots and nomadic, free approach to life are reflected in her borderless dishes.
For 4 people
For the Bernese sauce:
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 finely chopped shallot
5 tablespoons of white wine
3 tablespoons of dry vermouth
4 tablespoons of butter at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
Break the eggs into a small bowl, separating the egg white from the yolks. Transfer the egg yolks to a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then let it boil over low heat. In another saucepan, add the olive oil and the shallot and cook for about five minutes until it starts to caramelize. Deglaze with white wine, vinegar and vermouth, simmering for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly reduced and you can no longer feel the alcohol. Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a colander, making sure to remove the pieces of shallot. Here is your reduction.
Pour the egg yolks into a bowl placed on the saucepan with the boiling water over low heat, beating them vigorously. Continue to gently cook the egg yolks until, dripping, they begin to form ribbons. Without stopping beating slowly add the reduction, being careful not to separate the sauce. Then, add the butter, beating it to mix it completely. At the end of the procedure the sauce should be thick and homogeneous. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Keep warm until ready to serve.
For the trout baked in foil
4 medium trout fillets, 150g each
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut four rectangles of parchment paper and arrange them on the baking sheet. Season each fish steak with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place them one by one on the bottom of each rectangle. Fold the top over until the fish is completely covered. Fold and close the ends of the paper to seal them. Cook in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes until the fish reaches the right cooking. Serve immediately, leaving the trout wrapped in the foil. Cut each foil in half to show the fish and serve with the Bernese. Enjoy your meal!
3. Risotto with cuttlefish ink of Massimo Bottura
One of the most acclaimed chefs in the world, Massimo Bottura has single-handedly redefined contemporary Italian cuisine. In 2016, his three-star Michelin restaurant, Osteria Francescana, in Modena, was voted the best restaurant in the world. In July, Bottura will invite lucky guests for aculinary adventure in his guesthouse among the picturesque hills of Romagna.
For 4 people
For the oyster caviar:
100 g Belon oyster pulp (keep liquid aside)
1 g of cuttlefish ink
0.7 g of agar-agar (gelling agent)
20 g of fish broth fat
Strain the oyster liquid and set it aside in the fridge. Mix the oyster pulp and pass it through a sieve. Put 90 percent of the oyster pulp, squid ink and agar-agar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Using a syringe or dropper, distribute drops of the hot mixture of oysters and squid ink into a bowl with the cooled oyster water. The drops will harden into spheres of ‘caviar’. Place the balls in a bowl and season with the remaining oyster pulp and the fish fat. Leave in the fridge at 4 °.
For the cuttlefish ink cream:
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 ml of Villa Manodori extra virgin olive oil (or one of your choice)
20 ml of sparkling white wine
30 g of confit cherry tomatoes
100 ml of cuttlefish ink
500 ml of fish broth
In a pan, brown the shallots in the olive oil over low heat. Deglaze with white wine. Add the confit tomatoes and the squid ink. Stir in the fish broth until it is reduced by half. Blend everything and filter. It should be very black and creamy in consistency.
For the risotto:
100 g Belon oyster pulp (keep liquid aside)
100 g Fine de Claire oyster pulp (keep liquid aside)
100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
280 g of Acquerello rice
125 ml of sparkling wine
900 ml of sea bass broth, filtered
20 g of Oscietra Calvisius caviar
Strain the liquid from the oysters. Heat the oil in the risotto pan, add the rice and toast it. Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Then add the hot fish broth a little at a time, keeping it cooked over medium heat.
Meanwhile, blend the oyster pulp with an immersion blender and pass it through a sieve. Filter and mix with the oyster water. Finish cooking the risotto with the liquid, keeping the rice al dente. Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the oyster pulp and the olive oil. On flat plates, serve three quarters of the rice in the shape of a ring, leaving a hole in the center. Mix the remaining rice with a spoonful of cuttlefish ink cream and place it in the center of the gray rice. Mix the Oscietra caviar with 20 g of oyster caviar. Add a point of caviar in the center of the rice.
4. The fondant lava cake of Wolfgang Puck
Holder of multiple Michelin stars, more than 50 restaurants, and a knack for making the ordinary extraordinary (during the first lockdown, there were isolated long lines of customers eager for his classic fried chicken), Wolfgang Puck is one of the biggest names in the world. culinary industry.
For 8 cupcakes
210 g of butter
210 g of dark chocolate
65 g of plain flour
3 egg yolks
140 g of sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 °. Melt and mix the butter and chocolate over a slow flame. Add the flour to the butter and chocolate mixture. Leave aside. In another bowl, mix the eggs, egg yolks and sugar for about 3 minutes and add to the amalgam of butter and chocolate. Mix until it is a homogeneous mixture.
Sprinkle the aluminum cups with oil. Fill each cup with the mixture, making sure the top stays flat. Bake in the oven for 11 minutes.