Dinner For Two: A Romantic Valentine's Day Menu

Romance is in the air...and in my kitchen. This year, my fiancé and I decided to skip our usual Valentine's Day steakhouse special and cook an at-home meal full of flavor and passion. With mussels, steak, and shrimp, I'm sure we won't be missing that over-priced prix-fixe steak dinner.

Woo your lover with this romantic Valentine's Day meal:

Starter Beef Carpaccio w/ Arugula & Parmesan Entrée Cupid's Cioppino w/ Mussels, Clams, Shrimp & Halibut Dessert Chocolate Mousse w/ Homemade Whipped Cream


Beef Carpaccio w/ Arugula & Parmesan

  • 4 oz beef tenderloin, from the tip end of roast
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh shaved parmesan

    Wrap beef in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours to allow thin slicing.

    Slice beef about ¼ inch thick. Place slices between plastic wrap and from the center, pound down and out, flattening to make paper-thin slices.

    Toss arugula with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.

    Serve beef on chilled plates topped with dressed greens and shavings of fresh parmesan.

    If you want to get really corny (and who doesn't?), you can even place the sliced beef into heart shapes.

    Cupid's Cioppino

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • Fresh garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried oregano
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 squeeze tomato paste (from tube)
  • 1/3 cup good dry white wine ...and feel free to enjoy the rest of the bottle while cooking!
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1/3 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/3 lb littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1/4 lb fish filet, cubed (Halibut, Sea Bass, or other firm white fish)
  • 1/4 lb uncooked large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • Fresh parsley
  • Freshly baked sourdough bread
  • Fresh parmesan
  • Bottle of robust red wine for serving

    In a large pot, melt 1 tbsp butter and olive oil over medium heat. Chop ½ medium onion, 1 large shallot and 1 small fennel bulb. Add to pot and sauté until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in 2-3 cloves minced garlic, a bay leaf, ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of dried thyme, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and black pepper, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in a squeeze of tomato paste and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup dry white wine to deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits and cooking until wine has reduced by half.

    Add in the crushed tomatoes and fish stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 20-30 minutes.

    Add the clams and mussels, covering pot and cooking until they begin to open, about 5-7 minutes. Remove and discard any unopened shells.

    Season cubed fish and shrimp lightly with salt and pepper and add to pot. Simmer gently until fish and shrimp are just cooked through and clams are completely open, about 5 minutes.

    Remove from heat, discard bay leaf, and stir in chopped fresh parsley. Season the soup with more salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper if needed.

    Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh parsley and shavings of fresh parmesan. Serve with crusty loaf of warmed sourdough bread and a bottle of a robust red wine.

    Dark Chocolate Mousse w/ Homemade Whipped Cream *makes 4 servings, recipe from Anne Burrell


  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur
  • 1½ cups heavy cream

    Whipped Cream & Garnish

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz sugar
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • Chocolate shavings

    Set up a double boiler by simmering water in a medium pot. Place heat-safe bowl over pan and add chocolate, stirring gently to melt.

    Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, beating with a hand-held mixer until mixture is pale, thick, and doubled in size. Whisk in coffee liqueur and melted chocolate, adding slowly to not cook eggs.

    In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to medium peaks. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Repeat until all cream is incorporated.

    Transfer the mousse to individual ramekins and chill for at least 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, whip heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture forms soft peaks.

    Serve chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and chocolate shavings.

    Enjoy the romantic meal.

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    Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
    Contact: Brooke Viggiano