If you want to ratchet up the naughty behavior this Valentine's Day, then you need to include the aphrodisiac must-have, oysters come meal time. Oh, and you need to do it with, not champagne, but with absinthe!
From Russell Moore's "This Is Camino" cook book, which emphasizes the beauty and value in fire-based cooking, comes this scintillating recipe that I discovered through Imbibe Magazine, which you can see here.
½ large fennel bulb with fronds
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
6 mint leaves
Splash of absinthe
¾ cup breadcrumbs
24 oysters (fresh, fresh, fresh!!!)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (preferably in an oven that's not on its last leg).
Trim the fennel, reserving a handful of the fronds for the filling and saving the rest of the fronds and the stems to line the baking dish.
Finely dice the trimmed fennel bulb, then sauté it in 1 tablespoon of the butter for about a minute.
Add a splash of water and cook until tender, about 2 more minutes.
Split the scallion lengthwise, then cut it into fine slices.
Finely chop the mint and the handful of fennel fronds. Work them together with the scallion, cooked fennel, absinthe, breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt and the remaining butter.
If the butter is not well incorporated, you will end up with pools of butter in the oyster shells. Use an oyster knife to shuck the shellfish, leaving the oyster on the half shell and taking care not to spill the flavorful liquor.
Set the shells carefully in a baking dish lined with the rest of the fennel stems and fronds to hold them upright.
Put about a tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture on top of each oyster and bake until the breadcrumbs are brown, approximately 6 minutes.
All you need to do next is indulge your senses with this luxe and sexy dish, sure to please both of you with residual effects!
And if you're the truly romantic type, do what @Allobaber (and others) recommend: MAKE THIS DISH TOGETHER! The unity that comes from working together to create a meal that you both eat is going to increase the attractiveness of each of you to the other.
If you're single and need some Valentine Dinner advice, click here!