Valentine's Day is just a week away, and it holds a special place in my heart, because my husband chose that day to propose to me. We were married, almost one year later, on New Year's Day. For my husband, he's thankful that he has two anniversary dates that are easy to remember!
As an added bonus, my husband always does the cleanup, and he never complains. For so many reasons, I feel like the luckiest wife. That is why it is my joy to make a special dinner for the two of us.
HUNGER ALERT: Yes, this is going to seem like a pretty long post. I need to explain how to make all of the components, so here we go!
It's been many, many years, since I first had "Veal Oscar". It was the "Prince of Wales"" at the Hotel del Coronado, in the 70's. My palate was still young and unrefined, but I remember the combination of the veal, crab, asparagus and Béarnaise sauce as being one of the most memorable dinners of my young life. I always longed to have this dish again, though I never did return to that restaurant -- and I think it has recently closed.
Broiled Lobster Tail. I caught a Food Network episode of "The Pioneer Woman" , sometime in December, and watched her make "Steak Oscar". I thought it was clever that she used shrimp, asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce with Steak, instead of veal. I don't buy veal, any longer, so I liked the idea of using filet Mignon. Instead of shrimp, I decided to use crab. I prefer Alaskan King Crab, because it's easier to eat and a lot meatier. Yum!
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes" recipe and piped the potato rounds, on a well buttered baking pan. I stuck the pan into the freezer, while I prepared the main course. Why freeze them?
Ina Garten's technique for preparing Filet Mignon, by searing the meat, then roasting it in the oven. Adding two pats of unsalted butter, before placing them inside the oven, adds an additional layer of richness (and calories). I don't want to risk overcooking this expensive cut of meat, so I use both a thermometer with a probe and double check the doneness with my ultra-accurate and trustworthy Therma-Pen.
Blender Hollandaise sauce, by reducing Tarragon Vinegar with finely chopped tarragon (which grows in our garden). I left out the traditional shallots, but I might add those next time.
While this might seem complicated-- having to cook the steak, make a sauce, steam the crab, roast the asparagus and make Duchess Potatoes-- it really wasn't! I had this dinner, on the table, in less than an hour! Of course, you need to be able to multi-task to coordinate that everything is ready at the same time.
This is where Mis en Place comes in handy-- plus, the Duchess potatoes can be made in advance. I even freeze them, and store them in a Zip-Loc bag.
TASTING NOTES: There are times when I have to pat myself on the back. This is one of them. The steak was cooked to perfection (medium-rare). The asparagus was al dente, the King Crab was a rare treat for us-- the sauce... so fast and simple, and it really brings the whole dish together. I absolutely adore the mild anise flavor of tarragon. The cost of making this dinner was at least half of what we would have paid at a restaurant. Enjoying this, at home, and seeing my husband's delight in eating it is priceless.
For dessert, this Coeur ala Creme with a Raspberry Chambourd Sauce is a perfect for Valentine's Day!
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Happy Valentine's Day!