by Mollee Bauer
What better way to show you care on Valentine's Day than by cooking up an exquisite yet easy menu that's from (and good for) the heart?
Pink-tinged, omega-3-rich grilled salmon looks gorgeous topped with an antioxidant-loaded red pepper sauce. Steamed Red Bliss potatoes and a simple salad of red-leaf lettuce with cherry tomatoes complete the scene.
Try an Oregon Pinot Noir with dinner – its rounded fruit flavors nicely complement the salmon, and a glass of red wine is rich in heart-protective polyphenols. Or, enjoy an antioxidant-rich pomegranate spritzer made with equal parts pomegranate juice and seltzer.
For dessert? Chocolate, of course!
Rent the video on the way home – movies are fat-free – and cuddle up with your honey and a pint of strawberry sorbet to satisfy your sweetest desires.
• 2 red bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup red wine, sweet (Rosso) vermouth or cranberry juice cocktail
• 3 teaspoons olive oil
• 2 dashes paprika
• 2 salmon steaks, about 6 oz. each
• Lemon wedges, for squeezing
In a saucepan, combine red peppers, wine, vermouth or cranberry juice, and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the peppers are very soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add paprika and a little salt. Puree until very smooth. Transfer to a small pitcher or bowl.
Heat a stovetop grill pan or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Rub the salmon steaks with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. When the pan is hot, cook on one side until opaque and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the steaks over, sprinkle with salt, a generous grinding of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook until no longer translucent in the center.
Place the salmon steaks on dinner plates, spoon some of the pepper sauce over top and serve. Pass the extra sauce – it's tasty on the potatoes, too. Leftover sauce is great on poultry or as a sandwich spread.
Serve with steamed small red potatoes; lettuce and tomatoes tossed with balsamic vinegar.
Brightly colored fruits or vegetables often have health-supportive phytochemicals. Tomatoes, for one, get their color from lycopene, which may fight certain cancers.
© 2012 Alere. All rights reserved. Last Reviewed June 2012. Photo courtesy iStockphoto.