It’s February. It’s freezing. Are you in full on hibernation mode like me? Are you flipped out because you don’t have anything planned for you and your lovahhhh on Valentine’s Day? Fear not! I’ve got you covered with a simple but delicious Valentine’s Day home cooked meal!
People are so often stuck to making heavy, not necessarily “sexy” meals at home during the winter months. I wanted to come up with a meal that will impress your partner, take the stress off, and won’t leave you feeling weighed down for Valentine’s Day.
I love cooking seasonally so that I can get the most out of my produce. I mention some of my favorite winter produce in this post – check it out if you want to learn more! For this meal, I’m focusing on a fresh winter citrus salad to begin. Nothing lightens up a winter slump like the gorgeous colors and flavors of blood orange and ruby red grapefruit. For the main, I started with a lemony-garlicky-turmeric-compound butter which not only adds a beautiful color to the dish but also enhances its flavor. Toss the butter with some shrimp and spaghetti and voila – romance is served.
I would pair this with a citrus-forward white wine like a Chenin Blanc (v trendy right now) or a crisp Chablis. I did not include a dessert recipe in this post – gift whoever you’re serving with the task of picking up something chocolatey on their way to your home-cooked meal. For a post-dinner red, I love a Madeira, which would also go well with a dessert.
Winter Citrus Salad with Shrimp Spaghetti and Compound Butter
FOR THE SALAD:
1 head of butter lettuce
3 blood oranges
2 navel oranges
2 ruby red grapefruits
1 white grapefruit
1 bulb of fennel – save the fronds
1 shallot or red onion
¼ cup of mint leaves, torn or kept whole for garnish
½ tsp sumac, for garnish (optional)
2 tbsp roughly chopped shelled pistachios
FOR THE LEMON-HONEY VINAIGRETTE:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ large lemon, juiced
3 tsp honey
½ small clove of garlic, freshly grated
1 ½ tsp salt
FOR THE COMPOUND BUTTER:
1 stick of room temp butter (I like Kerrygold)
1 lemon, zested
½ clove of garlic, freshly grated
¼ tsp of turmeric
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp coriander
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
FOR THE SHRIMP SPAGHETTI:
1 ½ lbs shrimp, tail on and deveined
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp + 2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper
1 box of dried spaghetti – you need 8 oz (I like De Cecco)
1 cup of pasta water (reserve once pasta is cooked)
FOR THE SALAD:
- Place all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Remove peel from the citrus using a chef’s knife, cutting as close to the flesh as possible to eliminate any pith. Cut into rounds and set aside.
- Shave fennel and red onion thinly using a mandolin. Toss with ~2 tsp of the dressing.
- Build the salad from the bottom – start by laying out butter lettuce and topping with the fennel and red onion.
- Arrange the citrus and add any remaining fennel and red onion on top.
- Top with mint, fennel fronds, toasted pistachios, sumac and a drizzle of dressing.
FOR THE SHRIMP SPAGHETTI WITH COMPOUND BUTTER:
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Be sure to season it well with ~2 tbsp of salt. Cook the spaghetti for about 2 minutes less than the package instructions, it will continue to cook when it’s tossed with the shrimp.
- Meanwhile, add all of the ingredients for the compound butter and mix together. The best way to do this is to get in there with your hands and make sure everything is incorporated. Set aside.
- Add one tbsp of olive oil and one tbsp. of compound butter to a large skillet over medium heat.
- Season your shrimp with salt and pepper and add in a single layer to the skillet. Cook each side for about 3-4 minutes, flipping until both sides are pink and shrimp is cooked through.
- Using tongs, take the cooked spaghetti out of the pot and put it straight into the skillet with the cooked shrimp. Add 1 heaping tbsp of compound butter, the juice of half of a lemon, and ¼ of a cup of pasta water until it forms a silky sauce. Toss toss toss!
- Top the finished pasta with compound butter, cracked black pepper, and fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!