My friend, Tim Carman, who writes the Young and Hungry food column for D.C.'s City Paper, recently blogged about how he prefers not to take his sweet and wonderful wife, Carrie, to restaurants on Valentine’s Day.
“Don’t get me wrong. You know I love restaurants. I spend many of my waking hours in them... But when I think about all the ways I could spend Valentine’s Day with my wife, just about the last place I want to be is inside a restaurant.”
I’m with Tim. The few times Paul and I have gone out to restaurants on Valentine’s Day, we’ve been disappointed at how rushed we feel; at the dent in our wallets; and at the gigantic quantity of food we eat.
Our most romantic dinners have taken place during spontaneous trips to wine bars after work where we linger for far too long and whisper, stool-to-stool, in each other’s ears; or during the ‘date nights’ we create for ourselves at home.
For special occasions at home, I enjoy classic steak dishes such as steak au poivre made with filet mignon or New York strip steak with Bordelaise served with a simple vegetable side.
I recently discovered Bordelaise after making veal demi-glace, the sauce’s key ingredient. You can make demi-glace yourself or buy it from specialty food stores such as Gourmet-Food.com. Bordelaise, the wine-enriched, thyme-infused sauce made with demi-glace, is meaty and full of flavor but surprisingly light. It's made silky by adding a pat of butter at the end before drizzling it over the steak.
New York Strip Steak with Bordelaise Sauce
Adpated from Saveur
1 cup red wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shallots, finely diced
1 bay leaf
6 tbsp. demi-glace
2 10-oz New York strip steaks, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the wine, thyme, shallots and bay leaf. Reduce the wine over medium-high heat until almost evaporated. Discard the thyme and bay leaf. Add the veal demi-glace. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
Heat oven to 500 degrees. Heat oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over high heat. Sear the stakes, flipping once, 4-5 minutes. Transfer skillet to the oven and roast until steaks are medium rare, 4-5 minutes. Place steaks on a plate; and let rest.
Return the saucepan to medium heat and whisk in the butter. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and slice into ½-inch slices.
Add the accumulated juices to the saucepan and stir. Divide the steak slices between the plates, drizzle them with sauce, and sprinkle with fresh rosemary and thyme over the top.
Serve with spinach sautéed in olive oil and minced garlic or baby greens.
My version next to Saveur's, which uses filet mignon.