The Perfect Valentine’s Meal, Part 1 – The Starter

Posted by Nathan Lloyd | 03/02/2013 | Category: Food


Perhaps it’s because I’m pushing on in years, but I’ve always resented paying the over inflated prices that restaurants charge when February 14th rolls around.

Similar to paying to get into a pub on New Year’s Eve, my experience of restaurants on Valentine’s Day is one of an overcrowded eatery full of miserable staff, mediocre food with inflated prices to boot.

The bottom line is, if you really love your partner, as I do, then stay in and cook for them!

This is something I have done for a number of years now and I think it is more appreciated than spending a wad full of cash on a restaurant experience that fails to deliver.

The trouble is, I’ve occasionally been over-ambitious and my finished dish never quite matches the pretty picture on the recipe!

So although I want the brownie points of preparing a great meal, I certainly don’t want to take a day off work to concoct a romantic banquet.  So my advice is to keep it the menu relatively simple, without losing sight that you still want to still deliver the wow factor.

With simplicity in mind,  I’ve prepared a scrumptious menu that features two of Valentine’s big hitters in beef and chocolate.

Below is the first course of three.  Come back in the next couple of days for Part 2 where I will be detailing the main and desert.

Valentine’s Day Starter – Asparagus Wrapped in Parma Ham

This simple, but tasty starter is the perfect way to kick off your Valentine's meal:

  • Preparation Time: Around 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: Around 4 minutes
  • Serves: 2 Adults

Ingredients

  • 12 spears of asparagus
  • 12 slices of parma ham
  • 30g of melted butter
  • A small bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • Salt & black pepper for a bit of seasoning!

Method

To begin the preparation of your Valentine’s feast, gently melt the butter in a pan on a low heat and set the oven to 180C (gas mark 4), or 160c (gas mark 2) if you are using a fan assisted oven.

Whilst the butter is on the hob, take the spears of asparagus, wrap a slice of the parma ham around each one and lay them on a baking tray.  Brush each of the wrapped spear lightly with the butter and cook in a baking tray for around 4 minutes until the asparagus is cooked through and the prosciutto is crispy.

All done! 

Serve with the cherry tomatoes still on the vine.  If you are looking for a wine to accompany the starter, I would suggest you avoid anything overly acidic, as this will overwhelm the delicate flavour of the asparagus and ham.  Go for something light, refreshing and slightly off-dry such as the Co-op Fairtrade Pinot Grigio, which would complement this starter brilliantly.

This should start your Valentine's evening off nicely.  For the main course, I am preparing some simple (believe it or not) mini beef wellingtons, followed by the Truly Irresistible Raspberry & white chocolate cheesecakes for desert, because we don't want you slaving away in the kitchen all night!  


About The Author: Rob Smyth

Public relations

Promoting the great work of Central England Co-operative across all forms of media.