Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Idiot Proof Date-Night Recipe

Swoon Her with Salmon: Salmon with Shallots and Tomatoes Baked in Foil

I know this guy who swears that one of the easiest ways to impress a girl is to cook for her. Cooking at your place has many benefits including but not limited to:
  • It's cheaper than going out (especially important with this economy)
  • It shows the girl that you can take care of her (any Joe can buy plate at a restaurant)
  • It's an interactive alternative to dining out (phrases like "Can you juice that lemon for me" or "Hey, hand me that knife" replace boring restraunt banter)
  • When the meal is done, she is already in your place
This recipe is perfect: every girl likes salmon, this recipe has NO carbs which makes you look more thoughtful, it uses the fancy shallot which makes you look more knowledgeable, and the bake-in-foil method  takes all the guess work out of cooking.

Do even a halfway decent job executing this salmon recipe and you will be swimming upstream to spawn in no time.

What you need from the store:
A large enough salmon fillet for 2 people (12-16 ozs)
3 tomatoes chopped (preferably tomatoes on the vine, they're fancier looking)
2  shallots chopped (get a third to practice on the night before)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from a real lemon)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme (if you don't already have these spices, feel free to leave them out of the recipe)
Salt (preferably kosher salt) and black pepper

Wine:  A chardonnay or sauvignon blanc - don't buy a bottle with a kangaroo or barefoot on it, that just looks like you're not trying.

Salad: (I'm keeping it simple, add whatever salad stuff you want)
Some sort of baby lettuce, reccommend baby spring mix (baby lettuce is just more romantic than iceberg)
a tomato 
A dressing (don't try giving her that Ranch thats been sitting in your fridge, girls will like any kind of vinaigrette, they think its healthier for them)
Prepare the salad whenever, we won't go in to detail here.

Picking out salmon:
Get the salmon fresh from a market with a respectable fish department (Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, etc). The salmon should have a nice, bright pink color, the flesh should be firm to the touch, and the smell should be fresh not fishy. Basically it should look like a piece of sashimi sushi. Try and get wild caught as opposed to farm raised, if it is available and on sale.

If you are new to cooking you probably have no idea what a shallot is. The guy I know didn't the first time he made this recipe for a girl he knew. Basically a shallot is an oddly shaped sweet onion. They use it on Food Network all the time and the girl will appreciate the fancy ingredient. Study the image to the right to minimize confusion in the vegtable aisle. A helpful hint: try and mention your knowledge of the shallot and how it is used all the time by professional chefs, it will butter her up.

What you will need from your kitchen:

ALUMINUM FOIL (Check to make sure you have enough to cover your cookie sheet twice over)
Baking/cookie sheet
Medium sized bowl
A decent knife
Cutting board
Hopefully you have plates and silverware

First, open that wine playa. Alcohol is still the best ingredient for getting some.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle salmon with olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Chopping the Vegetables:
The tomatoes are easy enough, slice the tomato to resemble what you would put on a hamburger about 1/ 4 inch thick slices, then cut the slices into 1/4 inch strips, then cut the strips into 1/4 inch cubes.

Shallots are a different story. For the novice, I recommend cutting the ends off and peeling the shallot, you will notice that there are multiple sections within the shallot. Cut each section as you did the tomatoes but in 1/8 inch cubes. If you really want to impress and chop the shallots the right way, I suggest doing what this English lady says. Either way, it is best to practice cutting a shallot the night before so you don't look confused on your date.

Mix the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, the lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Making the bag:
  • Put a piece of foil on the baking sheet (make sure the foil is big enough to cover the salmon, to be safe just cover the entire baking sheet)
  • Place the salmon, skin side down on top of the foil.
  • Fold up the edges so the juices from the tomato mixture won't run everywhere
  • Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon
  • Take another sheet of foil and place it over the salmon and mixture
  • Crimp the edges of the two pieces of foil together forming a sealed bag
Throw it in the oven for 25 minutes.

That's it. Everything cooks together. You don't have to mess around with flipping the fish on a frying pan, the bag seals in the juices so the fish comes out moist. Unless your oven is messed up, 25 minutes is the perfect cooking time. Just open the bag, serve, and eat. I guarantee she will enjoy, or at least pretend to.

This is a low investment recipe with the potential for high returns. If your need help on what to do next look elsewhere, this is just a food blog.


  1. I was such a sucker for this trick.

  2. Me too. It was my favorite chuck dish from college.

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