Gallery: 22 Valentine's Day Dinners for Two

Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup With Harissa
Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup With Harissa

This soup is packed with aromatics that make it delightful to look at, smell, and sip. Keeping in mind a few basic techniques, feel free to modify the recipe to create your own tantalizing love potion.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Creamy Chanterelle Mushroom Soup
Creamy Chanterelle Mushroom Soup

Our mushroom soup is a major step up from the stuff in a can. Here, richly flavorful chanterelles are puréed until smooth, velvety, and creamy with a mouth-coating richness.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Easy Broiled Miso-Marinated Black Cod
Easy Broiled Miso-Marinated Black Cod

Not even your partner has to know how little effort it takes to make miso-marinated fish. Its satisfying balance of sweet and savory works well when paired with a light and simple salad or some plain rice.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Lemon Chicken and Rice With Kale
Lemon Chicken and Rice With Kale

Cumin and saffron add a hint of color and depth of flavor that helps to balance the natural bitterness of kale in this one-pot meal. Serve it with a tzatziki-style yogurt sauce mixed with cubes of fresh cucumber and mint to keep things refreshingly cool.

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[Photograph: Yasmin Fahr]

Squid Ink Pasta With Shrimp and Scallops
Squid Ink Pasta With Shrimp and Scallops

Squid ink pasta has a seductive color that creates a stunning contrast when paired with scallops and bright pink shrimp.

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[Photograph: Deborah Mele]

Mussels With Chard and Tomatoes
Mussels With Chard and Tomatoes

Vegetables and a side of bread for sopping turn a simple dish of steamed mussels into a complete meal. With rainbow chard and bright bell peppers, this one lets you show your true colors.

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[Photograph: Yasmin Fahr]

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Potato Salad
Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Potato Salad

Potato salad goes from humble to hypnotizing with the addition of smoked salmon. Inexpensive salmon scraps work well here, too, so you can save your money for a Valentine's Day gift instead.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Breaded Chicken Cutlets With Tomatoes and Arugula
Breaded Chicken Cutlets With Tomatoes and Arugula

While some of us might think of a big bucket of fried chicken as the height of sultry sophistication, chances are you'll be better off keeping it classy with these crispy breaded chicken cutlets. A light salad of ripe tomatoes and peppery arugula turns it into a complete meal that takes a mere 45 minutes to prepare.

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[Photograph: Deborah Mele]

Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes and Herbed Ricotta
Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes and Herbed Ricotta

Chopped basil, juicy tomato, and freshly grated cheese is one of those no-fail flavor combinations that has stood the test of time. If you're looking for a way to recreate that classic scene from Lady and the Tramp, this is your dish.

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[Photograph: Deborah Mele]

Creamy Polenta with Chicken, Caramelized Shallots, Arugula
Creamy Polenta with Chicken, Caramelized Shallots, Arugula

Soothing, creamy, and always better with cheese, polenta is a comfort food like no other. On its own, it may look a little plain. But when dressed up with chicken, pine nuts, and caramelized shallots, it's suddenly a showstopper.

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[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

Spaghetti with Clams, Mussels, and Tomatoes
Spaghetti with Clams, Mussels, and Tomatoes

While many of us might be fantasizing about a romantic Valentine's getaway in Italy, the next best thing would have to be a enchanting dish like this one, which combines the best of land and sea.

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[Photograph: Deborah Mele]

Herb Ricotta Gnocchi With Quick Tomato Sauce
Herb Ricotta Gnocchi With Quick Tomato Sauce

These pillows of ricotta cheese are so light and tender you could practically rest your head on them. With just a little practice, you can make them in as little time as it takes you to boil the water to cook them in.

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[Photograph: Deborah Mele]

Chicken Risotto with Lemon, Asparagus and Peas
Chicken Risotto with Lemon, Asparagus and Peas

This creamy, rich chicken risotto is studded with asparagus and peas that add flecks of bright green color.

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[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

Steak Salad with Cucumber, Peppers, and Spicy Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
Steak Salad with Cucumber, Peppers, and Spicy Fish Sauce Vinaigrette

It'd be a stretch to call this salad Thai or Vietnamese, but the flavors of the dressing—fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chilies—are straight out of their playbook. All these aromatics make for a combination that proves alluring to all the senses.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Skillet Lamb Chops with Harissa, Spinach and Chickpeas
Skillet Lamb Chops with Harissa, Spinach and Chickpeas

Moroccan spices add plenty of rich flavor to this simple combination of lamb, chickpeas, and spinach. If lamb's not your thing, you could swap it out for another protein or even a bit of quinoa or farro for a vegetarian version.

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[Photograph: Yasmin Fahr]

Dry-Aged, Sous-Vide, Torched-and-Seared Bone-in Ribeyes (AKA The Ultimate Steak)
Dry-Aged, Sous-Vide, Torched-and-Seared Bone-in Ribeyes (AKA The Ultimate Steak)

An expertly cooked steak is perhaps the ultimate centerpiece to a romantic meal. We've figured out all the steps for doing it just right.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Skillet Mussels with Coconut Milk and Curry
Skillet Mussels with Coconut Milk and Curry

Shellfish is a natural match for the flavors of coconut milk curry. You can make this dish with mussels and shrimp, or substitute it with another seafood of your choosing.

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[Photograph: Yasmin Fahr]

Mussels in Chorizo and Tomato Broth
Mussels in Chorizo and Tomato Broth

It's hard for something not to taste good when there's chorizo involved. In this mussel dish, it adds spice and rich, porky flavor, best soaked up by a piece of toasted bread placed beneath.

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[Photograph: Ashley Fahr]

Oysters Florentine
Oysters Florentine

When paired with a simple salad and a bit of bubbly, these broiled oysters make for a meal that is practically the height of home-cooked luxury. They're topped with spinach and shredded Parmesan before going in the oven, delivering a flavorful burst of salty and savory.

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[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

Irish Stout Granita with Raw Oysters
Irish Stout Granita with Raw Oysters

Stout and oysters may seem like an odd coupling. But the dry bitterness and roasty malt flavors of a stout play well against the sweet and briny flavors of a fresh oyster—even moreso when the stout is frozen and flaked into an icy granita that can be spooned over the fresh oyster just before slurpage.

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[Photograph: Marvin Gapultos]

Five Minute Miso-Glazed Toaster Oven Salmon
Five Minute Miso-Glazed Toaster Oven Salmon

If you're looking to create a memorable meal but are lacking in fancy equipment, this miso-glazed salmon is the answer—it's so simple you can make it in a toaster oven. Better yet, it leaves minimal mess, meaning you'll have plenty of time to focus on the other events of the evening.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Spring Vegetable Risotto With Asparagus, Zucchini, Fava Beans, Snap Peas, and Morels
Spring Vegetable Risotto With Asparagus, Zucchini, Fava Beans, Snap Peas, and Morels

This risotto is topped with asparagus, a purported aphrodisiac. If that doesn't keep things sexy, the stunning, vibrant mix of zucchini, morels, fava beans, and snap peas will.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]