This light, fresh, three-course dinner is romantically fancy but easy to prepare, and it won’t weigh you down or leave you feeling overly stuffed, so you’ll have plenty of energy leftover for…more passionate pursuits.
Grilled Romaine Wedge
3 tablespoons plus one teaspoon olive oil
1 head Romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced thin on the bias
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped arugula
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons diced roasted red bell pepper
5 fresh basil leaves, julienned (cut into very thin strips)
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (or dried cherries)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a medium grill pan (or actual grill, or any heavy skillet, such as cast-iron) on high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
- Brush the cut sides of the Romaine with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place the wedges cut-side down on the grill pan. Grill for one minute, or until you see grill marks.
- Remove wedges to two salad plates and, dividing everything between the two plates, top with the cucumber, arugula, tomatoes, pepper, and basil. Drizzle with lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
- Place each wedge on a plate and top with 1/2 sliced cucumber, ¼ cup diced arugula, 10 quartered cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of diced and roasted bell pepper, 5 julienned basil leaves, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds.
- Serve as first course for your Valentine’s dinner.
Almond-Dusted Dover Sole with Mediterranean Gremolata
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 10-ounce fresh Dover sole filets (deboned) (if you can’t find sole, you can substitute sea bass.)
¼ cup diced kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoon julienned sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon avocado or additional olive oil
1 teaspoon julienned fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon diced fresh garlic
- In a medium bowl mix the almond flour, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge the sole in the flour mixture to create a light coating. Set the bowl with the sole in it aside and allow the sole to come to room temperature.
- In another medium bowl, mix the olives, capers, tomatoes, pine nuts, olive oil, and lemon juice. Set aside for 15 minutes so the flavors can meld.
- Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil to a medium non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot (about 2 minutes), add the sole filets and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until fish turns translucent and flakes easily with a fork. (If using sea bass, cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.) Remove from heat.
- Plate each filet and top with the gremolata. Serve immediately, as your main course.
Raspberry Avocado Mousse
2 pints fresh raspberries (chilled)
1 avocado (chilled, pit removed, cubed)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon beet root powder or açai powder (optional, but really improves color)
2 teaspoons grated dark chocolate
Mint sprig (optional)
Shaved orange peel (optional)
Reserve 6 raspberries for garnish.
- In a blender, purée the avocado cubes, remaining raspberries, almond or coconut milk, honey, orange juice, and optional beet root powder, until smooth.
- Divide between two dessert dishes or glasses and garnish with three raspberries each, followed by shaved chocolate and optional mint and/or orange peel.
- Serve, as your dessert finale.