Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Going out for dinner with your special person is the most popular thing to do. But most of the places get so crowded that, sometimes it kills the romantic appeal of the entire evening. So, if you are a person who likes to have some privacy, then making a special meal for two, right at home is the best solution. These two restaurant quality dishes are inspired by Masterchef and will surely impress your loved one. You can make the dessert ahead of time and just assemble, right before you serve.
Seared duck with miso corn puree
For the duck:
2 duck breasts
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt and pepper to taste
For the corn puree:
2 fresh corn
2 tbsp miso paste
1 beef or chicken stock cube
2 tbsp minced onion
2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of water
For the blackberry vinaigrette:
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
First make the puree. Heat the olive oil in a small pan. Add the garlic and onion and saute until it's soft. Cut the kernels from the corn cob. Save about one cup corn and add the rest to the pan. Saute for one minute. Add the water, miso paste and the stock cube. Mix it well. Cook until the corn is tender and the water has reduced. Cool it down slightly and then blend it in a blender. Pass it through a sieve and keep it warm.
To cook the duck, preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.
Score the duck on the skin side. Sprinkle with coriander powder, salt and pepper.
Place the duck on a cold pan, skin side down. Keep the heat medium. Let the fat render out slowly. Cook it for 10 minutes until the duck is nice and brown.
Flip it over and sear the flesh side for 30 seconds. Now flip the duck again and put it in the oven for six minutes.
After six minutes, take the duck out of the oven and let it rest for five minutes, flesh side down.
In the same pan in which you have fried the duck, take the fat out and put the saved corn and cook it over high heat until the kernels begin to char. Once charred, take it off the heat.
To make the blackberry vinaigrette, mix the blackberry, sugar, salt and balsamic vinegar in a small glass bowl and warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
To serve, slice the duck thinly. Spread the puree on the serving plate. Add the duck, corn and balsamic vinaigrette. Pour the juice, which was released when it was resting, over the duck. Serve hot.
You can find frozen blackberries in big super stores like Lavender and Dhali. But you can also make an alternative. Take some cherry tomatoes and cut them in half. Cook them in the balsamic vinegar, salt and sugar mix. Let it sit for a few minutes, until the tomatoes start to release their juices and serve that.
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Strawberry sorbet with chocolate soil
For the sorbet:
1200gm fresh strawberry puree
2 tbsp lemon juice
For the chocolate soil:
100gm caster sugar
100gm almond meal
50gm coco powder
65gm melted butter
First, make a smooth puree out of the strawberries in a food processor. If you want, you can strain the puree to get rid of the seeds. I like the seeds in my sorbet.
Mix the sugar and the water for the sorbet in a heavy bottom pan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, take off the heat and cool it down completely.
Once the sugar syrup is cooled, add the lemon juice and sugar syrup in the puree and mix well. Now put it in a baking sheet or any flat container and let it chill in the freezer for four to five hours, until it's almost frozen but not totally solid. Make sure to cover the baking sheet. The reason behind putting it in a flat sheet is because it will chill faster and it will be easier to blend later.
Once frozen, put the whole mixture in your blender and blend until smooth. Pour it back on the tray and let it freeze for another two to three hours. Then follow the process of blending again. At this stage you can serve this as soft serve sorbet. If you want a firmer sorbet, however, put it back in the freezer and serve when you wish.
For the chocolate soil, preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Mix all the ingredients for the soil in a bowl. It will resemble wet sand.
Place parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Spread the soil mixture evenly on the sheet. Bake it for 20 minutes. Make sure to stir the mixture every five minutes to cook it evenly. After 20 minutes, take it out of the oven and let it cool completely.
Store in an air tight jar.
To assemble, sprinkle some chocolate soil on a plate and put one scoop of sorbet on top. You can also add different kinds of nuts and fresh berries to make it look more sumptuous.
Frozen strawberries work fine with this recipe. You can also use any fruit puree. Mango, orange, lime or any seasonal fruits can be used in the same recipe. If you can't find almond meal, use whole wheat flour instead, for the soil.
Farzana Romine is a food lover and travel enthusiast whose mission is recreating restaurant quality dishes at home and she invites you to come along for the ride