Cook up some romance with a candlelit supper
An elegant meal in a fancy restaurant is nice, but a quiet candlelit supper at home is far more romantic. Cooking for your sweetie can be wonderfully satisfying, but the joys are doubled when you cook together. Pop a cork, turn on a little soft music and craft a romantic evening together. Later as you ogle across the candlelit table, you’ll realize that there is nothing quite like a quiet evening at home with your lover.Restaurants are nice, but romance is inspired by loving acts. Make this year particularly romantic – create magical memories as you craft a stunning Valentine’s meal together. Buon Appetito and salùte! – Chef Mick Rosacci, Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods Insalada CapreseFresh ripe tomatoesFresh basil leavesFresh handmade mozzarellaExtra virgin olive oilFleur de Sal (sea salt flakes)Freshly cracked pepperBalsamic vinegar of Modena
Choose ripe, aromatic tomatoes, preferably more than one variety and color. Allow approximately 4 ounces per person. Decorate small salad plates with several choice basil leaves or buds. Slice tomatoes 1/4-inch thick and place a large slice on top of basil, seasoning lightly with a drizzle of olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper. Add a large 1/4-inch slice of handmade mozzarella, then top with julienned basil leaves, another slice of tomato, etc. – usually 3-4 layers of tomatoes and 2-3 layers of cheese is just right.Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil, season with pinches of sea salt and pepper and drizzle with a sweet and syrupy balsamic vinegar (to get this level quality, look for a bottle that is thick and syrupy and notes ‘of’ or ‘di Modena’ on the bottle). Serve at room temperature.Cleaning Clams Dissolve sea salt in cold water to create a briny liquid about the strength and temperature of seawater (we want to make the clams feel at home). Add clams, soaking and turning until the water is cloudy (10-15 minutes). Repeat two or three times – this will revitalize the clams and inspire them to clean themselves inside and out for you. Now the clams are ready to cook. Linguini with Clam Sauce – White1/2 pound linguini1/2 cup olive oil3 garlic cloves, chopped, separated1 large shallot, chopped12-16 small cherry stone clams, cleaned10-12 ounces chopped or baby clams1/2 cup clam juice1/4 cup crisp white wine2-3 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley and/or mint1-2 tablespoons fresh minced oreganoBlack or white pepper and pinches of crushed red pepper
Clean clams as above. Boil plenty of salted water for the pasta, get all the ingredients laid out, make the salad, set the table and pour the wine; this dish goes pretty fast. In a very heavy pot, sauté 2/3 of the garlic and all the shallots in oil until golden, seasoning with pinches of sea salt. Turn heat to high and carefully add whole clams, clam juice and wine. Boil uncovered until half of the clams are open, then add chopped clams, parsley, oregano, peppers, al dente pasta and remaining garlic – cooking uncovered until all the clams open and most of the liquid evaporates. Taste, adjust and serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and lemon wedges. – Chef Mick Rosacci, Tony’s Meats and Specialty Foods
Linguini with Clam Sauce – Red1/2 pound linguini1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2-3 tablespoons1 large shallot, chopped3 garlic cloves, pressed14 ounce can San Marzano Italian tomatoes1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepperSea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste12-16 small cherrystone clams10-12 ounce baby or chopped clams1/2 cup fresh basil, juliennedClean clams as above. Boil plenty of salted water for the pasta, get all the ingredients laid out, make the salad, set the table and pour the wine; this dish goes pretty fast.Sauté shallots and garlic in oil with pinches of sea salt until golden. Turn heat to high and add tomatoes (coarsely chopping with wooden spoon), crushed red pepper, and whole clams. Boil uncovered until half of clams are open, then add baby or chopped clams, cooked pasta and half of the basil. Taste, adjust and continue to cook until all the clams have opened. Serve sprinkled with remaining basil and a drizzle of olive oil. – Chef Mick Rosacci,Tony’s Meats and Specialty Foods
Pot du Crème2 cups heavy cream6 ounces high-grade dark chocolate, chopped2 tablespoons sugar6 egg yolks1 teaspoon vanillawhipped creamfresh raspberries or blackberriesIn a heavy saucepan combine cream and sugar. Cook and stir until cream is scalded. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Beat egg yolks and temper into chocolate (stir a little of the hot mixture into the yolks, then a little more, then stir all into hot chocolate) and then whisk in vanilla. Strain into ramekins and cover with foil.Set ramekins in a cake or roasting pan, add water halfway up sides and bake at 300 degrees until the crème just sets around edges (20 minutes or so, depends on ramekin size). Chill in refrigerator. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and garnish with berries.
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