I racked my brain to figure out how I could top last years widely popular Valentine's Day Dinner. It took all of about 5 min to determine it would be "Salmon Hearts". No this isn't the actual heart from a Salmon. Instead I decided to cook some Salmon in the shape of hearts. This was a lot easier said than done.
To start off I needed to find fillets of Salmon that were big enough for me to cut hearts out and I decided the best way to accomplish this was via heart shaped cookie cutters. Fresh Market had some beautiful cuts and I decided to get two, one to cook regular and the other one to cut hearts out of. The salmon is "Cuban Style" as it was marinated with Nellie & Joe's Key West Style Cuban Marinade. This stuff is really the best marinade on the market and goes well with pretty much everything. Oh...back to the hearts.
I ventured over to Kitchen Outfitters and luckily they had one box of heart shaped cookie cutters left. This box was perfect because it had various sizes of hearts for me to use. The big debate I had with myself was to cut before cooking or after cooking. I decided to go with before cooking and these cutters went right through the Salmon like a hot knife through butter. That was a good thing, until I got to the skin. With all my good knives, not one of them would cut through that skin. So I ended up pulling the hearts off the skin. My big concern now was would these hearts hold their shape through the cooking process. Luckily for the most part they did hold their shape and worked out very nicely for the presentation. I cut the other fillet in half for us to share after it was done cooking.
As for the rest of the meal:
We started off with a Shrimp Cocktail and had Rosemary & Sea Salt Rolls with a balsamic-olive oil dipping mixture that included several spices. These spices were cracked black pepper, garlic, oregano, and cracked red pepper. The shrimp were fresh Wild Georgia Shrimp that I seasoned with some cajun rub. I also put some of this rub in the water that I boiled the shrimp in. After an ice bath they were peeled and placed on the place with a cocktail sauce heart.
The side items for dinner were garlic red skin mashed potatoes and fresh cut green beans & caramelized onions. I partly peeled the potatoes as I wanted to have some of the red skin in the mixture. I then mashed the cooked potatoes with butter, heavy whipping cream, garlic, and cracked black pepper. The mixture was then transferred to a baking dish and was finished in the oven. The green beans & onions were cooked in a little olive oil, salt, garlic, and pepper. I caramelized the onions and the green beans were still crisp with a great bite to them.
To compliment this meal we drank a bottle of 2009 Don Miguel Gascón Argentine Malbec and for dessert we had Red Velvet Cupcakes from Fresh Market.
I got to say, as good as last years Valentine's Dinner was...this one was even that much better.