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30-Minute Valentine’s Day dinner recipes

Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, which makes it difficult to cook an elaborate meal after a long day of work. But a great meal doesn’t always have to take hours to prepare, and it doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice on flavor either.

Enter The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day by Wini Moranville. With recipes like these, you only need 30 minutes to put an impressive dinner on the table. That means you can focus all your attention on romancing your loved one. So light the candles, sip some wine, hold hands across the table and enjoy a delicious French-style bistro meal from the comfort of your own home.

Enjoy these recipes courtesy of The Bonne Femme Cookbook.

Roasted salmon recipe with Pernod sauce

Roasted salmon with Pernod sauceServes 2


  • 4 small red-skinned potatoes (about 1/2 pound), scrubbed and quartered
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup clam juice or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Pernod, Ricard, Pastis 51, Ouzo or an anise-flavored liqueur
  • 2 (6 ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh fines herbes (or substitute 2 teaspoons snipped fresh parsley and 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh fines herbes or fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Put the potatoes in a medium-size saucepan with enough lightly salted water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil, and then cook at an active simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrot and onions and cook until all of the vegetables are just tender, about five minutes more. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the white wine, clam juice, and two tablespoons of the Pernod. Bring to a boil and boil until the mixture is reduced to about two tablespoons, about seven minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking and the sauce is reducing, measure the thickness of the salmon and season with salt and pepper. Combine the olive oil, the remaining one teaspoon Pernod and the fines herbes (or parsley-tarragon combo); rub the mixture all over the salmon. Place in a shallow baking dish, tucking under any thin edges so that the fillets are as uniform in thickness as possible. Roast until the fish flakes easily but is still glistening in the center, four to six minutes per 1/2-inch of thickness.
  5. When the fish is just about done, reheat the sauce. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables. Cook, gently tossing, until the vegetables are warm.
  6. Spoon the vegetables and sauce into two warmed shallow bowls, arranging the vegetables toward the rim. Place the salmon in the center of the bowl. Sprinkle with fines herbes or parsley and serve.

Steak with brandy and mustard sauce recipe

Steak with brandy and mustard sauce

Serves 4


  • 4 (6 ounce) top loin or tenderloin steaks (1-inch thick)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley


  1. Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook, turning as needed, to the desired doneness (10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare); reduce the heat as necessary if the meat browns too quickly. Transfer the steaks to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. Add the shallot to the skillet and sauté briefly, until translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and add the broth and the brandy, taking care not to let the liquid spatter. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup — this should take two to three minutes, depending on the heat and your pan size. Whisk in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the remaining one tablespoon butter. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  3. Arrange the steaks on four dinner plates, spoon the sauce over the steaks, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Mustard sea scallops recipe with tarragon

Mustard sea scallops with tarragon

Serves 4 


  • 16 large sea scallops (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh tarragon leaves


  1. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and set aside. Stir the mustard and sugar into the orange juice and set aside.
  2. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the fennel and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about four minutes. Move the fennel to the sides of the skillet.
  3. Place the scallops in the center of the skillet and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about three minutes. After turning the scallops, add the garlic to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the orange juice mixture and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the scallops are opaque and the sauce has reduced, about five minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the tarragon and turn the scallops over in the sauce. Divide the scallops among four dinner plates, spoon on any sauce left in the pan and serve immediately.

More Valentine’s Day recipes

Valentine’s Day martini menu
Valentine’s Day cookie recipes
How to make a heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cake

Photo credit: Richard Swearinger

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