There's no better way to celebrate with your loved one this Valentine's Day than by surprising them with a delicious home-cooked meal — and a fancy three-course affair, at that!
Husband-and-wife team Adam and Lovaine Humphry, the chefs behind Sydney's prestigious one-hatted Restaurant Arras, share this exquisite three-course dinner recipe, custom designed exclusively for SheKnows readers.
Course 1: Asparagus and chickpea salad with carrot and apple soup
- 1 yellow, orange and purple heirloom carrot
- 2 red radishes
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 100 grams green beans
- 1 bunch chives
- 150 grams chickpeas (soaked)
- Watercress tips and edible flowers to garnish
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 150 millilitres fresh apple juice
- 150 millilitres grape seed oil
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh-squeezed apple and carrot juice
- 100 grams breadcrumbs
- 5 grams pink peppercorns
- Deep fried parsley and basil leaves to garnish
- Oil for frying
- Begin by making the dressing. In a bowl, whisk the dijon mustard and vinegar together. Add the apple juice and whisk again. Add a small amount of seasoning and slowly add the oil in a thin stream until emulsified. Check the seasoning and set aside.
- Next, prepare the condiments. Grind the peppercorns into the breadcrumbs then heat a frying pan with a little olive oil. Place the breadcrumbs into a pan and keep tossing till golden and crunchy. Drain on kitchen paper and season, set aside.
- Mix apple and carrot juice together in even amounts, season with a little salt and chill.
- To prepare the salad, peel the carrots and continue to peel shavings off, using the peeler.
- Finely slice the asparagus, green beans and radish and add to a bowl with the carrot strips. Once all the vegetables are prepared, season and dress with the dressing.
- Heat a small pan of oil and add the chickpeas. Fry till golden, then add to the salad.
- To assemble, place the salad into a small bowl, dotting some of the chickpeas around. Place the soup in a jug, condiments in a small bowl and at the table pour the soup around the salad and sprinkle the condiments on top.
Course 2: Fish, slow-cooked tomato and hot lettuce
- 4 portions of white-fleshed fish, 120 grams each — snapper is perfect (skin off)
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 baby cos lettuce
- 150 grams frozen peas
- Handful of pea tendrils
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 100 grams butter
- 1 lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Baby herbs to garnish (parsley, celery)
- In a pan of boiling, salted water, blanch the tomatoes quickly and refresh in iced water.
- Peel the tomatoes from the bottom up, leaving the top third and stalk in tact. Douse in olive oil, salt and pepper and add the sliced garlic. Roast in an oven at 85 degrees C for six hours.
- Separate the lettuce leaves and wash.
- Blanch the peas for 30 seconds in boiling salted water, add to a bowl, dress with olive oil and season.
- In a non-stick pan heat a little olive oil and add the seasoned fish. Fry over a medium heat until golden on one side, then add the butter and turn the heat down. Baste the fish with the butter continuously for four minutes until the fish is cooked.
- Take a couple of spoons of the hot butter and add to the lettuce leaves along with the fine grated zest of the lemon. Grill the leaves under a hot grill for 20 seconds or until lightly wilted. With the remaining butter add a good squeeze of lemon juice and season. This will be your sauce so keep warm.
- To assemble the dish, place the warm tomato and leaves onto a plate and top with the fish. Garnish with pea tendrils and baby herbs and pour the butter sauce over the fish.
Course 3: Arras Florentines
- 120 grams best quality dark chocolate
- 30 grams flaked almonds, lightly crushed
- 30 grams chopped glace cherries
- 30 grams other glace fruit of choice, chopped
- 45 grams flour
- 60 grams unsalted butter
- 40 grams soft brown sugar
- 15 grams honey
- 12 round lolly sticks, if desired
- In a small saucepan, gently heat the butter, honey and sugar together, stirring to ensure the sugars dissolve.
- In a bowl, mix the chopped glace fruit, almonds and flour together. When the sugar mix is completely melted, remove from the heat and gradually stir in the fruit and nut mix until well combined and no flour lumps remain.
- Divide the mixture into 12 evenly sized balls and using wet hands, shape into a flat biscuit shape on a baking tray, leaving good spacing between them (you may need to bake in two batches). At this stage if you want to add a lolly stick, press into the centre and ensure it’s well covered by the mix.
- Bake the Florentines at 175 degrees C for approximately 10-12 minutes. Once golden, let them cool slightly on the tray, and then onto a wire rack to decorate.
- To decorate, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring all the time to ensure it doesn’t burn. Traditionally Florentines are coated with chocolate from the underside only. We like to go a bit crazy and decorate as we choose — feel free to make any designs with the chocolate over the biscuit you like. Remember to let the chocolate set before eating!
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