Happy French Friday!
It has come to my attention that perhaps I was a little too harsh on Valentine’s Day in my last post. It can be a fun holiday, we just don’t make a big deal about it. I was trying to explain why we don’t make a big deal, and I guess my point didn’t come across quite like I wanted it too. I don’t hate Valentine’s Day! All that said, we had a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner this year, inspired in part by this week’s delicious French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Vanilla-Butter-Braised Lobster.
As the Dorista’s nominated recipes for the February line-up, it was decided that Vanilla-Butter-Braised Lobster would make the perfect dinner for Valentine’s Day. Great idea, and great excuse for a special dinner!
The recipe calls for live lobsters, but Dorie helpfully suggests that previously frozen lobster tails would work as well. I opted for the lobster tails. It was interesting to me to see the varying amounts people had to spend to purchase their lobster. I was lucky to run across a “one-day sale” at Whole Foods, and picked up 4 small lobster tails for only $20.
I have never cooked lobster before. Heck, I have only eaten it a handful of times. One thing I would love to experience some time is super-fresh East Coast lobster cooked at the source. Some day!
Anyway, I was surprised how quick and easy lobster tails are to cook, when they are braised in clarified butter. Dorie’s twist is to add a vanilla bean. I found the vanilla flavor to be very subtle, but delicious.
I rounded out our special meal with Lemon-Steamed Spinach and potatoes roasted in duck fat. Decadent and delicious!
I’m a week late on another FFWD recipe: Couscous Chicken. This one is a North-African-inspired dish that makes a very satisfying dinner.
What makes Chicken Couscous special and exotic is the spice mix: fresh ginger, cumin, turmeric, saffron, cinnamon, and garlic. The chicken and spices are stewed together with a variety of vegetables, including, leeks, carrots, celery, and zucchini. The final touch is garbanzo beans. The whole thing is served with the traditional couscous. Dorie has us cook the couscous with some of the stew’s broth, lending the pasta the same exotic flavors as the rest of the dish.
I loved this! I found it so satisfying and delicious. Best of all, it made enough for two night’s worth of dinners!
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, an online group dedicated to cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful book, Around My French Table.