Fish is an excellent choice for your Valentine's Day dining needs since it's quick to make, elegant to serve, and won't leave your wallet weeping. That means you can enjoy a fancy meal without spending all night waiting for a table and use some of that savings to help make the day special in other ways.
You begin with some skin-on salmon fillets. Even if you don't like salmon skin — it's delicious and excellent for you, by the way — still use salmon with the skin on for this recipe. That layer of skin protects the delicate flesh of the salmon while cooking over medium-high heat on the stove and in the oven. Besides, during this process, it becomes crisp and delightful. Have I mentioned that it's delicious?
Asparagus is a natural accompaniment to salmon. When served together, they invoke thoughts of spring and the warmth that comes with it. I cannot imagine a more welcoming menu for a day in mid-February meant for lovers. Snuggle up in the cold and think of spring!
The sauce for the fish is a fairly complex blend of sweet, salty, and tangy flavors. If you wanted to give it an even fresher flavor, try adding a tablespoon of lemon juice too. Just don't take it too far … you want Valentine's Day to be flavorful, but not too tough on tummies! Next time, I'll be offering a hearty warm winter salad to serve alongside this dish if you'd like. Happy cooking!
- 1 T. cooking fat - I recommend bacon fat or butter
- 2 (4 oz. each) salmon fillets - skin on
- 8 oz. thin asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1 T. packed brown sugar
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 T. honey
- 1 T. soy or tamari sauce
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a cast iron or other heavy, ovenproof skillet, heat the cooking fat of your choice over medium-high heat until hot. Place the salmon fillets skin side down into the hot pan and allow them to sizzle for 4 minutes before using a spatula to carefully flip them over and move them to one side of the pan. Toss the asparagus spears into the other side of the hot pan and while the fish cooks, use a set of tongs to lightly cook the asparagus.
After the salmon has cooked for an additional 3 minutes on the other side, flip it again using the spatula and remove the pan from the heat. Stir together the remaining ingredients to form a sauce and brush it generously over the salmon.
Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook an additional 3-6 minutes, depending on your desired level of doneness for the fish. Serve immediately.
- Yields: 2 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes