THE KITCHEN DIVA: A seductive supper for Valentine's Day

What better time to prepare a heart-healthy meal than on the one day of the year that celebrates matters of the heart?

I love preparing a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day. Cooking is one of the ways I show my love for my sweet husband, Michael. We’ve been married for 45 years, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to create romantic meals, from breakfast in bed to late-night fireside suppers.

What better time to prepare a heart-healthy meal than on the one day of the year that celebrates matters of the heart — Valentine’s Day? My recipe for Roasted Salmon with Pomegranate Butter Sauce is an elegant way to make a special day even more memorable and provides the gift of good health.

While 80% of all the salmon sold is farm-raised, wild salmon is the best choice. You can choose from a handful of different Pacific salmon, including Sockeye, Pink Coho and King (Chinook). Atlantic salmon also is an option. The U.S. prohibits fishing for it, so the ones you’ll find in American supermarkets are farm-raised.

Eating two to three servings per week of foods rich in omega-3 is a healthy choice. A serving of salmon (about 3 to 4 ounces) is about 200 calories. Salmon is low in mercury and saturated fat. It’s a good source of protein, and one of the best sources of vitamin B12, potassium and other nutrients like iron and vitamin D.

If you’ve never tried roasted salmon, get ready for a treat. The heat from the oven seals in the flavor of the salmon much better than moist-heat methods like poaching or steaming. The pomegranate butter sauce is what makes this dish so deliciously unique. Pomegranate juice is fairly easy to find in most grocery stores, and the flavor marries beautifully with the salmon.

My recipe for roasted salmon is a delicious choice for a Valentine’s Day dinner and the perfect way to combine heartfelt sentiments with heart-healthy benefits.

ROASTED SALMON WITH POMEGRANATE BUTTER SAUCE

The pomegranate butter sauce is a red variation of the classic French “beurre blanc,” which translated from French means “white butter.” One important tip: Slowly incorporate the butter over very low heat so it softens into a creamy emulsion with the acidic base. If the heat is too high, the butter will simply melt.

1 (2 pound) center-cut salmon fillet, with skin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

For the Pomegranate Butter Sauce:

1/2 cup bottled pomegranate juice

1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 8 equal portions

Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

Run your fingers over the cut side of the salmon, feeling for any pin bones. If necessary, pull out the bones with sterilized tweezers. Season salmon on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the salmon on the baking sheet, flesh side up. Cut the salmon vertically into 6 equal portions, but do not separate the pieces. (This makes the salmon easier to serve after cooking.)

Roast until the salmon shows just a hint of bright pink when prodded in the center of the fillet at one of the cuts with the tip of a knife, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the butter sauce. Bring the pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, shallots, rosemary, salt and the pepper to a boil in a non-reactive medium saucepan over high heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of the butter. Whisk until the butter softens into a creamy texture, occasionally returning the pan to the heat to keep it warm, but not hot.

Repeat with the remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Do not bother to try to keep the sauce piping hot; it will be heated by the warmth of the salmon.

Remove the skin and any fat from the salmon and discard. Serve the salmon on individual dinner plates and spoon the sauce on top. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis. © 2020 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis

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