In a perfect world, I’d be celebrating Valentines Day by watching All-Star Weekend and going to the movies to watch the premier of Marvels, Dead Pool. But lets be real, my lady and your lady ain’t going for that. Like millions of other women across America, they are expecting some romance on the one day of the year where it matters most (it’s bullshit I know but you still have to play the game). And what better way to make an impression than by hooking up an epic and romantic meal. My friend, I bring you a two-course meal that even includes a wine pairing. It’s practically fool proof. If the recipe seems too much or you find yourself challenged, then just make sure you follow the images for inspiration. Hell, you can call me if you need additional help. Actually, you can’t call me. But regardless of your culinary outcome, I promise you she’ll appreciate the effort! Happy Valentine’s Day Bro!
- 2 Duck Breasts
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
- 1/2 cup Port Wine
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 12 pitted fresh or frozen cherries
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp of fresh squeezed orange juice
- S/P to taste
Start by setting your oven to 375 degrees.
Using sharp knife, score skin in 3/4-inch diamond pattern. Avoid cutting deep into the flesh. You’re aiming for shallow cuts. Once completed allow the meat to come to room temperature while oven is heating up. It should take about 20 minutes.
Once at room temperature, season the duck breast with salt and pepper. Next, render the fat by placing skin side down in a medium high heat skillet – cast iron preferred. Cook until skin is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for small breasts and 8 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm, and let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Save the poured off pan drippings for Saturday morning skillet potatoes and thank me later. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat 30 seconds. Add broth, orange juice, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Potato Parsnip Au Gratin
- 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
- 2 parsnips, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- s/p to taste
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 2 oz finely grated parmesan
- 3/4 cup creme fraiche, divided
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper to taste
Place potatoes and parsnips in a bowl of cold water.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place garlic and melted butter into a 2-quart baking dish; brush garlic and butter all over the inside of the dish.
Slice potatoes very thin using a mandolin slicer.
Layer 1/3 potato slices into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle a few thyme leaves onto potato slices and a light dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Spoon about 3 tablespoons creme fraiche over the cheese.
Thinly slice parsnips using a vegetable peeler; arrange 1/2 the parsnip slices in an even layer over the creme fraiche and season with salt and black pepper. Repeat potato and parsnip layering process: 1/3 potato slices, salt and black pepper, thyme, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, creme fraiche, and remaining 1/2 parsnip slices. Dust with salt. Arrange last 1/3 potato slices on top and season with salt.
Pour chicken broth over potato-parsnip layers about 3 tablespoons at a time. Shake dish gently to eliminate air bubbles. Gently spread remaining 2 tablespoons creme fraiche over the potatoes. Sprinkle cayenne and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top.
- 2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Combine oil, rosemary, garlic and red pepper in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring just to a simmer, and remove from heat. Let stand at room temperature until the oil has cooled and the rosemary has infused the oil, about 1 hour. Strain oil through a fine sieve. Oil may be used immediately or stored in a covered container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Blanch green beans in a large stock pot of well salted boiling water until bright green in color and tender crisp, roughly 2 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop from cooking.
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the rosemary oil, and once fragrant and smoking (about 30 seconds). Add the beans and saute until coated in the oil and heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Plate, serve, and enjoy (expect a round of applause in 3, 2…)!
‘Plated or Poured’ is our food and drink column curated by Rashad Frazier, a prolific home cook who hails from North Carolina and currently lives in NYC. When it comes to food and drink, he stands for everything good and righteous. You can keep up with his culinary exploits and so much more on his food and lifestyle blog, PULLEDTOGETHER.
Follow Rashad’s journey on Instagram.