It may be customary to celebrate Valentine's Day with an upscale dinner, but it's one of the absolute worst nights of the year to go out to eat. You're much better off eating at home, and it gives you the perfect excuse to try out those luxurious dishes you've had your eye on: lobster, steak, you name it. From the ultimate dry-aged ribeye to homemade pasta, we've got 14 dishes to help you show your partner how much you love them. Can't find the right dish? Head over to our Valentine's Day page to find a whole host of other romantic recipes.
The jury's out on whether or not oysters are actually an aphrodisiac, but they're definitely an elegant way to kick off a Valentine's Day meal. You could keep them raw, or bake them with cream and spinach to make oysters Florentine. Ask your fishmonger for large, extra-briny oysters for this recipe.
As much as oysters have their fanatics, lobster reigns supreme when it comes to luxury seafood. For a preparation more interesting than a steamed lobster tail, try making this Colombian-style ceviche. We par-boil the lobster for just a couple minutes before tossing it in a lime juice marinade flavored with shallots, jalapeño, and cilantro to finish the cooking.
Baked Brie en Croûte With Thyme and Fig Jam
Baking a round of brie is one of the best ways to elevate your cheese board. In this version the cheese is topped with fig jam and thyme leaves and wrapped in puff pastry before baking. You can also try wrapping the brie up with and apple and pear compote, or getting rid of the puff pastry and serving it with honey and pistachios.
Balsamic-Strawberry Baked Goat Cheese Dip
Strawberries and cheese are both romantic foods (I'm not the only one who thinks cheese is romantic, right?), so it's only appropriate to serve them together on Valentine's Day. This tangy dip combines goat cheese with cream cheese and honey. We bake the dip until golden and melty and top it with a mixture of fresh strawberries, basil, and a balsamic reduction.
Roman-Jewish Fried Artichokes (Carciofi alla Giudia)
Fanned out like flowers, these artichokes are a step above your average fried fare. We double-fry them so the insides tenderize and the exteriors get crispy. For the most traditional flavor you should fry the artichokes in olive oil, but you can use a neutral oil if you want the flavor of the artichoke to come through more clearly.
Sous Vide Rack of Lamb
Rack of lamb is a little pricey, so if I'm going to cook it I want to cook it right. The easiest way to ensure your lamb is a rosy medium-rare from edge to edge is to cook it sous vide. After the lamb is cooked through, sear it in a blazingly hot cast iron skillet. Make sure to open the windows and turn on the vent—there's going to be some serious smoke.
Dry-Aged, Sous Vide, Torched-and-Seared Bone-in Ribeyes (a.k.a. The Ultimate Steak)
If you really want to splurge for Valentine's Day, no ordinary rack of lamb will cut it. No, the ultimate way to show your partner you love them is with a massive dry-aged ribeye steak. Like with the lamb, the best course of action is to cook the meat sous vide and then sear it in a hot pan. If you want to get an even better crust, use a blowtorch!
Braised Chinese-Style Short Ribs With Soy, Orange, and 5-Spice Powder
Don't have the cash for dry-aged steak? Short ribs are an alternative that feel like a treat but aren't quite so hard on your wallet. In this recipe we slowly cook the ribs with a Chinese-inspired mix of soy sauce, orange zest and juice, ginger, and five-spice powder. You can make them in a Dutch oven or a slow-cooker—either way they'll come out amazingly tender.
Red Wine-Braised Beef Shanks
Beef shanks are an even more budget-friendly option for Valentine's Day. Cooked in red wine, this rustic, comforting cut becomes tender and flavorful. Once the shanks are done you can reduce the braising liquid and aromatics down to a rich sauce. Even better, the bones are filled with buttery marrow.
Easy Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin With Bourbon-Soaked Figs
Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday, so you might not be able to spend four hours on dinner. This simple pork tenderloin looks and tastes special, but only takes 30 minutes to make. The pork is cooked entirely on the stovetop and served with a sauce made with bourbon-soaked figs, whole grain mustard, maple syrup, and gelatin-enriched chicken stock.
The Best Moules Marinières (Sailor-Style Mussels)
Mussels feel like a treat but are remarkably affordable. They're also easy to prepare all sorts of ways. Here we go with a classic moules marinières, cooking the bivalves in a broth flavored with shallot, leeks, garlic, and white wine (or dry cider). Mix garlicky aioli into the broth to thicken it and make sure you have a crusty baguette on hand to sop it all up.
Beet-Colored Fresh Pasta
You don't need meat or seafood to have a romantic dinner—homemade pasta says "I love you" even better than an expensive steak. For Valentine's Day, make our simple fresh egg pasta and dye it pink with beet purée. The purée is vividly colored but mild enough to work in any recipe—if you really want to taste the beets then roast them before puréeing.
Homemade Mushroom Tortellini
If you're already comfortable with basic pasta-making then you can be a little more ambitious—these homemade tortellini are a manageable next step. They look difficult to make, but all you need are a cookie cutter and some patience. We fill them with a mushroom purée flavored with Parmesan and shallots—you can use something else, but keep the filling pretty dry so that the tortellini don't burst.
Uovo in Raviolo (Runny Egg Yolk Ravioli)
Your date will be plenty impressed by tortellini, but uovo in raviolo—big ravioli filled with a soft egg yolk cradled in a ring of ricotta—is an absolute show-stopper. They look like something you'd only find in a high-end restaurant, but if you take it nice and slow you'll be able to make them just fine.