We’re not ones to turn down a decadent box of chocolates, but there are plenty of sultry menu options out there to consider for a seductive Valentine’s Day meal. We asked the hunkiest chefs we know for sexy recipes to cook up on Feb. 14. Truth be told, we’d be turned on by a box of Triscuits if these handsome gentleman were serving them, but let’s put that aside for now and focus on these truly mouthwatering dishes . . .
Restaurant: Good Stuff Eatery | Béarnaise | We, The Pizza
Locations: Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Crystal City, Philadelphia | Capitol Hill | Capitol Hill
The Dish: Filet mignon with bordelaise, parsnip purée and roasted root vegetables.
Chef’s Notes: “A filet mignon with a bordelaise sauce is as sexy as it gets. Biting into a perfectly seared steak with a blood, red-wine sauce is just sensual. Plate it with some parsnip purée and roasted root vegetables to complete the dish.”
Restaurants: Tertulia | El Colmado
Locations: West Village, NYC | Hell’s Kitchen, NY
The Dish: Butter-roasted diver scallops, winter mushroom ragout, blood orange, and Burgundy truffle.
Chef’s Notes: “I love scallops. Their sweet, delicious briny-ness are perfect for a romantic V-day dinner at home. If ever there was a night to push yourself and indulge in home cooking, it’s February 14th. Scallops may seem intimidating at first, but they are actually very easy and forgiving to cook — with no messy pin bones.
Season the little gems with salt and pepper and then sear them in a hot pan with olive oil for a minute or two then add some butter to the pan and baste with a little blood orange zest. Serve with a simple ragout of your favorite mushrooms and then as much black truffle (grated with a microplane) as your budget allows. Pair with a glass (or a few) of cava, Spain’s superlative sparkling wine. Nookie to follow. Guaranteed.”
As Seen On: Cooking Channel’s David Rocco’s Dolce Vita
The Dish: Beet juice risotto with truffle oil.
Chef’s Notes: “My go-to Valentine’s Day recipe is risotto made with beet juice, drizzled with a little bit of truffle oil to finish it off. It looks so gorgeous and festive because of the bright red beets. Because it’s a risotto, which calls for ladling and stirring throughout the cooking process, it’s the ideal dish to cook with your partner. You can easily share some wine and conversation while you’re making it. It’s also simple, quick, and easy to make, meaning you can spend more time with your sweetheart and less time in the kitchen.”
Restaurants: Luke’s Lobster
Locations: New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, D.C.; and Bethesda, MD
The Dish: Shellfish platter with cocktail sauce, shallot mignonette, and lemon butter.
Chef’s Notes: “There’s nothing more intimate than eating with your hands, and no better aphrodisiac than shellfish. So my suggestion for a Valentine’s dish is simple: a seafood platter, featuring oysters (North Haven, Winterpoint, and Damariscotta are from Maine!), empress crab claws, chilled split lobster tails, and Maine shrimp, served with cocktail sauce (a quick mix of quality ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and worcestershire sauce), shallot mignonette (minced shallots, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper), and lemon butter.”
Locations: Healdsburg, CA
The Dish: Sashimi of kanpichi with yuzu juice, pickled green papaya, red jalapeño, cilantro, mint, and Thai basil.
Chef’s Notes: “Normally I would go for a large cut of meat or a bird for a couple to share given that it is Valentine’s Day. But as sexy as it is to cook and share a huge cut of beef, it might be too heavy on the stomach. So I would keep it clean but also evoke elegant flavor sensations in my dish. I would prepare sashimi of kanpachi with yuzu juice, pickled green papaya and red jalapeño so you get that spicy kick but the acidity in the pickle brightens up your palate. I would finish the dish with cilantro, mint and Thai basil to keep it clean and refreshing at the end.”
Restaurants: The Meatball Shop
Locations: Upper East Side, Chelsea, Lower East Side, West Village, and Williamsburg, NY
The Dish: Striped bass over puréed parsnips and roasted beets with a salad of sliced watermelon radish, arugula, and toasted pine.
Chef’s Notes: “Fish is delicate, romantic and at the end of the day, downright sexy. A piece of striped bass over a silky bed of puréed parsnips and roasted beets. I would simply drizzle some basil oil over the fish with a squeeze of lemon. I would also make a simple salad of thinly sliced watermelon radish, arugula and toasted pine nuts with a champagne vinaigrette. Simple, pretty, colorful and tasty.”
Restaurants: Range | Volt | Family Meal
Locations: Washington, D.C. | Frederick, M.D. | Frederick, M.D.
The Dish: Milk chocolate gelato with chocolate caramel, chopped raw organic cocoa nibs, and crispy chocolate tuile cookies.
Chef’s Notes: “I like to see how many ways I can represent a single flavor or a combination of flavors in a dish. I also like dishes in which each bite is not only different but also intriguing, so that it leaves you wanting just a little bit more. And what could be more fitting on Valentine’s Day than chocolate? I applied those ideas to the chocolate variations in this dessert, creating a variety of textures and several unique forms of the ingredients that promise to keep you interested in the dish to the final bite.”
Restaurants: Bread + Butter
Locations: Miami, FL
The Dish: Ganache- or Nutella-filled cherries and Champagne.
Chef’s Notes: “The ideal recipe for a Valentine’s Day dessert is a bright bowl of fresh cherries, stems on, plus a bottle (or two) of Champagne. Use an olive pitter to de-seed the cherries. Then place a soft ganache or Nutella in a piping bag and fill each cheery. This will be a pleasant surprise and a little aphrodisiac affair. Your lover is sure to be thrilled.”
What’s your favorite romantic recipe? Tell us or share a link in the comments.
— By Julia Millay Walsh