Don’t get us wrong: We at Parker Sanpei love Valentine’s Day. But not everyone appreciates the romantic reminder of a cozy little bistro with tables set for two, particularly if they’re single, by choice or otherwise. A theme we come back to, time and again, is the beauty of solo experiences. So, while love may or may not be in the air, why not embrace the notion of “me time” with a romantic dinner menu for one? Grab a glass of wine (suggestions below), turn up the music, and craft yourself a gorgeous one-plate wonder this Valentine’s Day. And don’t forget to set the table; eating this dinner over the sink is strictly forbidden!
All recipes serve one.
Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon with Port-Cherry Reduction and Blue Cheese Chive Butter
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
- 1 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 center-cut filets mignons, 2 inches thick, 7-8 ounces, trimmed of fat and silver skin
Heat the peppercorns and 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over low heat until faint bubbles appear. Continue to cook at a bare simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the pepper is fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. When the mixture is at room temperature, add the salt and stir to combine. Rub the steak with the pepper mixture, thoroughly coating the top and bottom with the peppercorns. Cover the steak with plastic wrap and press gently to make sure the peppercorns adhere; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack, and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until faint smoke appears. Place the steak in the skillet and cook, without moving, until a dark brown crust has formed, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the steak and cook until well browned on the second side, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the steak to the hot baking sheet. Roast 3 to 5 minutes for rare, 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare to medium. Transfer the steak to a wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 5 minutes before serving.
For Port-cherry reduction:
- 1/2 cups port
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cup dried tart cherries
- 1/2 large shallot, minced
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Combine the first five ingredients in a medium saucepan; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is reduced to one-third, about 20 minutes. Set aside, covered. While the steak is resting, reheat the sauce. Off the heat, remove the thyme, then whisk in the butter until melted. Season with salt to taste. Serve drizzled over the steak.
For blue cheese-chive butter:
- 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons crumbled mild blue cheese, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons minced chives minced chives
Combine the butter, cheese, and salt in a medium bowl and mix with a stiff rubber spatula until smooth. Fold in the chives. While the steaks are resting, spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons butter on each one.
If you’re going to put the effort into cooking up this delectable meal for yourself, please, we beg you, don’t skimp on the wine. Valentine’s Day is all about love, and if you really love yourself, match this flavorful filet mignon with a dark, brooding wine. Fine pairings might include:
- Bandol AOC – a French wine from a region in Provence, mostly made from the Mourvedre grape
- Barossa Shiraz – Wine made from Shiraz grapes in South Australia
- Barolo DOCG – an Italian wine from the Piedmont region, mostly made from the Nebbiolo grape
- Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon – California Cabernet Sauvignon from any one of our friends at the Paso Robles CAB Collective.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food
- 1 medium russet potatoes, peeled
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a food processor with a slicing blade or a sharp knife, slice potato as thinly as possible, 1/4 inch thick or thinner. (Do not place sliced potato in water; the starch is needed to bind the layers.).
Brush bottom of a small skillet with just enough butter to cover. Starting in center of pan, arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping, in circular pattern, covering surface. Brush with more butter; season well with salt and pepper. Repeat for two more layers.
Place over high heat until butter in pan sizzles, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer to oven; bake until potatoes are fork-tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Run a small spatula around edges of skillet; slide large spatula underneath potatoes to loosen. Carefully invert onto a plate, and cut into wedges.
Classic Caesar Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit
For dressing (makes enough for leftovers):
- 1 garlic clove
- kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
Mash garlic and a pinch of salt into a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in lemon juice and Dijon. Adding drop by drop to start, gradually whisk in olive oil, then vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in Parmesan. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Can be made 1 day ahead.
- 1/2 cup torn 1-inch pieces country bread
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt
Toss bread with oil on a baking sheet; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 375°, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce
- shaved Parmesan
Nutella Mug Cake
Adapted from Eclectic Recipes
- 4 tablespoons self-rising flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons Nutella
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug. Whisk well with a fork until smooth. Microwave on high for 1½ minutes. Meanwhile, add heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until almost stiff. Add sugar and beat until heavy cream forms stiff peaks. Top Mug Cakes with whipped cream and a little chocolate sauce, if desired.