Romantic French Valentine’s Dinner for Two

Romantic French Valentine’s Dinner for Two

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The Dilemma: Valentine’s day falls on a Thursday this year. You want to make something romantic for dinner, but it’s a workday. Who has time?

The solution: This thirty-minute menu–inspired by the great love of Julia and Paul Child, and their love for France.

One the best moments in the film, Julie and Julia, was when Julia Child (Meryl Streep) gets off the boat in France and is whisked by her husband (Stanley Tucci) to a favorite restaurant. He orders sole meunière for her.

As Julia takes her first few bites, she tries to–but cannot– express her joy; she intersperses a few inarticulate words with exclamations of Mmmmm….mmmmmm!

Paul just pats her hand and says, “I know….know…..”

I love that moment because it shows the sheer pleasure of introducing something you love to the person you love most in the world. And when that someone “gets it”–well, it’s just one of those great moments in the life of a couple.

With that wonderful scene–and the epic love of Paul and Julia Child in mind–I invite you to share a Sole Meunière with your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

Fish Meunière

Sole is classic, but you may also use other white fish fillets. Baked rice and a green vegetable are classic accompaniments.

Makes 4 servings

4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless white fish fillets, such as haddock, halibut, grouper, sole, flounder, or cod (1/2 inch thick; see Note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup 2 percent or whole milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley, chives, or chervil, or a combination
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Season both sides of each fish fillet with salt and pepper. Pour the milk into one shallow bowl and place the flour in another. Dip a fillet in the milk, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the fillet in the flour to lightly coat, shaking off the excess. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

2. Using a skillet that’s large enough to accommodate the fillets in one layer, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add fillets and cook, turning once, until fish is golden- brown on both sides and flakes easily with a fork, about 5 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if fish browns too quickly). Transfer fish to four serving plates.

3. Drain off any fat from the skillet and—taking care not to burn your fingers—wipe out the pan with paper towels. Add the butter and melt it over medium heat until nut-brown and frothy. Remove the pan from the heat.

4. Scatter the herbs over the fish fillets, sprinkle with lemon juice, and pour the browned butter on top. Serve immediately.

Photo by “by Rofi” via Flickr.

Wini Moranville is the author of The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day, and the co-author of The Braiser Cookbook. Follow Wini on Facebook at Chez Bonne Femme.

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