When I first planned this Valentine’s Day post, it was going to be an entire four course meal shoved into one War & Peace size post and then I was going to send you on your way to enjoy. Instead, we are going to break this up into a multi-part extravaganza of Valentine’s Day cooking, planning, playing and fun.
Valentine’s Day – First Course: Appetizer
Valentine’s Day is almost here. Enjoy the love in the air. Flirt. Cook. Save yourself from that astronomical “special day” price increase in restaurants by enjoying each other….at home. I don’t know about you, but the romance level is slightly lower when the couple on either side of you can hear exactly what you’re saying. And, let’s get real here, the guests in restaurants get a little unhappy if you’re wearing nothing but lingerie or an apron (or both), like you can at home.
This year, I went for the more formal angle of an intimate dinner for two. I still included the cheesy heart shaped everything, red roses and chocolate, but I did it with fun….and the good dishes. The first thing to focus on is what you want your main course to be. How heavy do you want it? Remember, it’s romance night. Don’t make everything so heavy that you both fall into a food coma.
Once you pick your main course, surround it with light and airy food and accents. Since it’s the day of love, I went with the traditional opening course – aphrodisiacs. What!? Okay, okay, I meant oysters. Roasted Oysters in a Brown Butter Glaze to be precise.
These sound intricate and time consuming, but they have a 7-minute prep and cook time. Prepare the brown butter a few days in advance and save yourself some kitchen time. If you’ve never made roasted oysters before, these are the best and snazziest oysters you can get in under 10 minutes (besides raw).
Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.
GOOD FOOD. GOOD FRIENDS. GOOD TIMES
Side note: have your grocery store shuck them open for you. It’s usually free and will prevent any popping open mishaps, cut fingers and such. Do NOT put oysters in the freezer still on the shell. If you are going to make these, get fresh oysters.
- 8 oysters on the half shell
- Slices of brown butter (recipe below)
- 1 cup rock salt
- 1 slice bacon
- chopped parsley
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp hot sauce
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Preheat over to 500F.
- Delicately rinse oyster and inside shell, in cold water. Be very careful to not pierce oysters.
- Use a 9×13” cake pan and cover the bottom with Parchment paper, then rock salt.
- Nestle oysters shells in the salt and place a slice (1/8”) brown butter on top.
- Roast until edges of oysters curl and turn darker color, about 5 minutes. The butter will melt and bubble under the oysters.
- While oysters are in the oven, cook one piece of bacon and squeeze between paper towel when done.
- Serve oysters, topped with parsley and chopped bacon.
Note: Shells will be hot when placed on the plate. Don’t pick them up to eat, use fork.
- Place butter in a small cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter starts to foam then browns. About 5 minutes. Do not let it burn. It will smell like roasted nuts when perfect.
- Transfer butter to a small plastic bowl. Scrape in browned solids from bottom of the skillet. Let cool on the counter about 10 minutes.
- Stir butter and let sit about 10 minutes. Do this until butter starts to solidify, but is still soft.
- Once butter is solidified enough to hold its form, stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce and salt to soft butter. Mix well and spoon onto parchment paper then shape into a log.
- Butter will last in refrigerator for up to a week or put in freezer baggie and freeze for an hour before using.