Bonjour! Here are a few romantic French recipes from my archives that should see you through Valentine’s Weekend (yes—it’s three days this year, not just one…so be prepared).
1. Steak with Brandy-Mustard Sauce. This is the ultimate “Man-Handler”—and I mean that with very little irony. Some dudes gotta have their steak, and trust me, they love this one. Find the recipe and a menu on Richard Nahem’s “Eye Prefer Paris” website. And while you’re at it, consider signing up for his daily email. You’ll get photos of France in your in-box every day.
2. Roasted Salmon with Pernod Sauce. If, on the other hand, your dude doesn’t gotta have his steak (or if you’re a dude cooking for a lady), here’s another great choice. Get some wild salmon and go to town. This one-dish meal will take you about 30 minutes, so yes, you can cook it on Friday night after work.
3. Coq au Vin. Here’s what I suggest you do. Make this a day or two beforehand so that it’s ready on Valentine’s Day without a fuss. Like most braises, coq au vin tastes even better after it’s been made ahead. PS: Here’s how to make it into a menu.
So, what’s to drink? I got the cutie below in my in-box (my electronic in-box, mind you, not my real in box, dang it!). I would say that showing up at someone’s door with a nicely chilled Moët Chandon Rosé Imperial would make quite the impact. The tote keeps the Champagne cold for 2 hours, which is also a nice idea if you’re going out to eat at a restaurant that lets you BYO. You can order this at ReserveBar.com.
If you don’t feel like mail-ordering your wine, do yourself a favor and get a good-quality rosé Champagne anyway. I just love these for special occasion. Their whisper-of-pink color says “romance,” while the fact they’re made with Pinot Noir says they’ll do what Pinots and Champagnes do best: They’ll go with anything. Yes! I’ve even poured these with steaks. It’s one of the few wines that will take you from apéritifs through dessert.
I have not actually tasted the Moët ChandonRosé Imperial (pictured) but its last Wine Spectator rating (December 2012) was a 91 out of 100. That’s high marks.
A few of my personal favorite pink sparkling wines include Moët’s American cousin, Chandon Blanc de Noirs from California, as well as other California winners: Roederer Estate Brut Rosé, Mirabelle Brut Rosé, and Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs.
PS: I’m always on the hunt for a great pink sparkling wine, so if you’ve got another one you love, let me know!