Valentine’s Day. Ugh. It’s one of the worst days of the year to go out, and yet, odds are your significant other is expecting a spectacularly memorable meal. To save the day, er, night, the Weekly has teamed up with esteemed chef Eric Ripert to create a luscious, lovely menu that you can cook at home.
When it comes to romance, ask a Frenchman. “I’m not always with my wife on Valentine’s Day, but I always cook for her the night before,” says Ripert. “The secret is to do food you can prepare in advance, and food that doesn’t give you bad breath.”
Truffle Salad with Foie Gras
4 (3 oz.) medallions of foie gras, scored on both sides
½ lb. mache, picked and cleaned
½ lb. spinach, picked and cleaned
1 small black truffle
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
1½ tbsp. sherry vinegar
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 tbsp. chopped black truffles
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Method: Whisk or blend together the mustard, salt, pepper and vinegars until frothy. Very slowly drizzle in the oil. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week. Add the chopped black truffles before serving.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the mache and spinach. Drizzle the greens with the truffle vinaigrette until lightly coated. Gently toss the greens and add salt and pepper as necessary.
Season the foie gras medallions with salt and pepper. In a very hot sauté pan, sear the foie gras on one side until a dark golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Gently flip and “kiss” the other side for about 10 seconds or until a metal skewer is warm to the touch when entered into the center. Place a small bed of the dressed greens on the plate and place the medallion of foie gras over the greens. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and around the plate. Shave a few slices of fresh black truffles over the salad and serve immediately.
Steak au Poivre
6 tbsp. canola oil
4 (10-oz.) filet mignon
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. green peppercorns, lightly crushed
½ cup brandy
1 cup cream
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat canola oil in two large sauté pans over high heat. Season the steaks generously with salt. When the oil is almost smoking, turn the heat down slightly, add the steaks and sear for 3 to 4 minutes until brown and crusted. Turn the steaks and transfer to the oven and roast for about 6-8 minutes or until a thermometer inserted reads 120 degrees (for medium rare).
Remove the steaks and reserve on cutting board, covered loosely with aluminum foil. Add the butter and the green peppercorns to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, reduce by half, then add the cream, and reduce by half. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and strain through a chinois into another sauce pot and keep warm.
To serve, place steak in center of the plates. Spoon the sauce over and around the steak and serve immediately.
Grand Marnier Soufflé
4 tbsp. butter, room temperature
4 tbsp. sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1½ tbsp. cornstarch
6 egg whites
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp. Grand Marnier
6 tsp. orange marmalade
Method: Prepare six soufflé ramekins by brushing evenly with soft butter, then coating with sugar. Place all but 4 tbsp. of the milk and orange zest in a pan. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with remaining milk and return to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Meanwhile, begin to whip the egg whites on medium-low speed. When the milk mixture has come to a full boil remove from heat and add Grand Marnier. Stir with the whisk frequently. Turn the mixer up to a medium-high and whip to medium peak, adding the sugar close to the end of the whipping.
Working quickly, mix one quarter of the meringue into the milk mixture in the pan with the whisk. Pour the mixture over the remaining meringue in the mixer bowl and gently fold with a rubber spatula until just fully mixed. Spoon the mixture into ramekins, filling two-thirds full. Place a tsp. of orange marmalade in the center of each soufflé. Top with the remaining mixture to come just under the rim of the ramekin. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes, until well risen and golden outside with a creamy center.