Saturday, February 14, 2009

Special Valentine's Dinner - Part 1

I made a fabulous dinner for Valentine's Day. I went to the Fresh Market and got some really great ingredients. My plan was to make Seabass, a flaky white fish, but they were already sold out. Instead, I chose halibut, another great white fish that is very mild in flavor. I had never made it before, but it came out really well. I will definitely cook more with it in the future.

The menu consisted of halibut with capers, tomatoes and olives - a recipe from my new Elie Krieger cookbook. I also made a caprese salad using fresh boccaccini mozzarella, grape tomatoes and fresh basil marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I served it with roasted garlic that I roasted myself and whole wheat rolls. Altogether this was still a healthy meal. I think the fattiest component was the mozzarella. I completed the meal with fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. Also good for you. Dark chocolate has antioxidants!!

Roasted Garlic
1 whole head of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

Roasting the garlic this way mellows out the flavor and softens it, allowing you to spread it on bread as if it were butter. Delish! I had this years ago at an Italian restaurant, but this was the first time I tried to replicate it.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using a knife, cut off the top third of the garlic head. Do not peel the garlic. Place it in a small, oven-proof dish, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil; and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes. You should now be able to use a butter knife to scoop out the garlic cloves and spread on bread, or anything else you can think of.

Marinated mozzarella and tomatoes
Boccaccini mozzarella
grape tomatoes
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Boccaccini mozzarella are little balls of fresh mozzarella. I picked up a little container from the Fresh Market. It was located on the olive bar, but I have seen these at the regular grocery story as well. You could as get a regular ball of fresh mozzarella and cut into 1-inch cubes. This dish wasn't an exact science. I just threw everything together. In a shallow dish, place the mozzarella and grape tomatoes. My tomatoes were a good size, so I sliced them in half. Season with a little Kosher salt and pepper. Take a couple leaves of fresh basil and slice; add to the dish.

In a small bowl, pour in some balsamic vinegar, maybe a 1/4 of a cup. Whisk in the olive oil, maybe a 1/4 of a cup. But really, I just eyeballed it. You can't screw it up. Whisk until the oil and vinegar combine. Pour the marinade over the mozzarella and tomatoes. Mix well. Place in the fridge for at least 3o minutes, or up to a couple of hours.

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