All week long, we're sharing Valentine's Day dinners for two -- grab your partner or your bestie, and make a meal worthy of your love.
Today: Stay in this Saturday and cook a classic Valentine's dinner for two with your sweetheart.
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We are firm believers that cooking your own Valentine's Day meal is more romantic than scoring the perfect corner table at the bistro down the block. Why? Well, for one, it takes the pressure off so you can focus on enjoying a simple, fun, easy night in -- without the distraction of fellow love-stuck diners, swooning, fighting, or crying at the table next to you. Not to mention, the drinks are way cheaper when they are from your own minibar.
This year, pair a simple, juicy steak with indulgent chocolate mousse for a tantalizing, sure-to-please Valentine's Day meal. It's a classic couple that comes to life with just enough heat -- sound familiar?
Here's how to make it:
Fortunately, the work can be split quite easily between the two of you. Have your sweetie begin cooking the steak by placing 2 tablespoons of peppercorns in a sealed plastic bag and smashing them with a hammer until they are coarsely crushed. This is a good task for the partner who is more uptight. In the case that you are both uptight, you'll do best by deciding who could best benefit from this stress-relieving activity. Relationships, especially in the kitchen, are all about compromise.
Next, drizzle both sides of the flank steak with some olive oil and salt, then rub the peppercorns on either side, coating the surface like steak au poivre. As your partner is doing this, heat up a cast iron skillet (you know, that really nice vintage one they got you for your birthday) until it is very hot. Cook the steak on both sides for about 3 to 4 minutes (just enough time to pour another glass of wine), until the steak is well-browned but still rare on the inside.
Remove the steak and drizzle balsamic vinegar liberally on both sides. While the steak rests for 15 minutes, you can begin making the moussé. Pour 6 ounces of water into a saucepan, then whisk in 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate over medium-low heat. The result should be a homogenous sauce -- just like the two of you and the love you share.
More: Need a pro-tip -- or six -- on how to cook a flank steak? Read on.
Put the sauce pan in a bowl that is partially filled with ice cubes, and then whisk the sauce either by hand or with an electric mixer. Be sure to keep a close eye on your sauce if using the electric mixer, as it will thicken much more quickly. Once strands of chocolate form inside the loops of the whisk, pour or spoon the mousse immediately into ramekins, small bowls, or jars, and let set. Refrigerate the mousse until you're ready for dessert, then top it with whipped cream to your heart's content.
Take advantage of our handy grocery list and click the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes.
You probably already have olive oil, kosher salt, peppercorns, and balsamic vinegar in your pantry. If you’re low, add them to the list.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).