Last Updated on February 9, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Avoid “une loterie d’amour” with our French Date Night Menu
There’s nothing more romantic than zipping over to Paris on the Eurostar for a Valentine’s date with your significant other. But we can’t do that at the moment… Putain! So on February 14th, we will all be downing a couple of Valium, searching for our aprons and pulling out the recipe books to create the perfect Valentine’s meal. But panic ye not! Here at London Unattached, we’ve done the hard work, providing you with three internationally themed Valentine’s menus with matched wines. And the French one includes one of my favourite treats – Sole Meunière.
This is the third in the series (the other two comprise Italian date night, with a slow-cooked Venison Shank and British date night with scallops in champagne sauce!) with the emphasis being on French food and three fabulous French wines. La fête de Saint-Valentin isn’t quite as commercial an event in France as it is in the UK. Traditionally single people would take part in “une loterie d’amour” by standing outside their houses calling out to other single people with whom they would then pair up with…Perhaps predictably things often didn’t end well with the practice eventually being banned. With lockdown this year we don’t recommend that you try this at home and if you are on your own or with your amour our menu should make you feel very loved.
French Date Night or Valentine’s Menu
- Starter: Asparagus Hollandaise matched with Chanson Viré-Clessé 2017
- Main: Sole Meunière with new potatoes and French beans matched with Chateau Maris La Touge 2017
- Dessert: Crêpes Suzette matched with Aix Rosé 2019
The starter of Asparagus Hollandaise (our recipe is here) is perfect for a romantic meal. The sauce can be pre-bought if you want an easy life (Maille make a good one available from most supermarkets) and asparagus is easy to cook.
Our matched wine is a sublime white Burgundy, Chanson Viré-Clessé 2017. Coming from two villages Viré and Clessé in the Mâconnais region in the south of Burgundy the wine is smooth and buttery with just a hint of minerality coming from the oyster shell residue in the terroir. It’s a truly delicious way to start your celebration.
Sole Meunière is one of the classic dishes of French cuisine and can be made with either a modest lemon sole or a Dover Sole for the ultimate in luxury. In our recipe, we serve Dover Sole with new potatoes and French beans matched with Chateau Maris La Touge 2017. I’m a big fan of drinking reds with fish and a big flavoured Dover Sole matches beautifully with the bold, earthy, blackcurrant notes of this biodynamic blend of Syrah (60%), Grenache (35%) and Carignan (5%) grapes. the wine is made by British winemaker Robert Eden who moved to Château Maris in 1997 and has been creating wonderful wines ever since.
Here’s our Sole Meunière recipe.
A luxurious treat that is straightforward to cook
- 3 tbsp seasoned flour
- 150 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp drained capers
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 handful chopped parsley
- 400 g new potatoes
- 120 g trimmed French beans
- 2 Dover or Lemon Sole trimmed, with head and tail removed
After washing and drying with a paper towel, dredge the sole fillets in the seasoned flour, shake off any excess, then put to one side.
Place the potatoes in the medium saucepan, boil a kettle and cover the potatoes with the boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
Heat the olive oil and half of the butter in the frying pan on a medium heat. When the butter starts to sizzle lay one of the fish into the frying pan then fry for 4-6 minutes dependent on size until the skin starts to turn golden. Turn the fish over and repeat until both sides are crisp. Place the fish on a warmed serving dish and place in an oven set to 200 degrees C. Repeat the process with the second fish.
Place the beans in the small saucepan, boil a kettle and cover them with the boiling water. Cook at a medium heat for 4 minutes or so.
When both fish are cooked melt the remaining butter in the frying pan until it sizzles and smells nutty, add the juice of half the lemon and the capers and then stir. Plate the fish, sprinkle the parsley and sauce on top and serve with the potatoes and beans.
For our dessert, we are recommending Crêpes Suzette matched with a bottle of Aix Rosé 2019. Nigella’s recipe cheats slightly as it uses shop bought crêpes but for a date night this is both easy to make and a real showstopper.
The Aix Rosé offers a delicious freshness with raspberry and lemon notes to cut through the sexy butter-heavy dishes I have suggested.
This is really a luxury old-school menu; forget Nouvelle Cuisine, Asian influences or calorie-controlled dishes and indulge!