Not going out? Make a Valentine’s at home special

Associated PressFebruary 5, 2013 

Not planning to go out for Valentine’s Day? Time to start planning a special menu for a romantic night in.

This dish is warm and comforting, and rich with flavors that say “you’re special.” It cooks up in a gratin dish, so you can assemble it ahead of time, then when you’re ready to eat, just pop it in the oven. While the gratin bakes, assemble the salad and serve everything together with a crusty baguette. Simple, special and perfect for an evening in.

Crab and Hearts of Palm Gratin with Arugula and Cherry Salad

For the gratin:
14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
14-ounce can hearts of palm, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated fontina cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
12 ounces lump crab meat
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
For the salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup fresh or dried cherries
2 tablespoons toasted almonds (optional)
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place 2 shallow individual-sized casserole or gratin dishes on a baking sheet.

Chop the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the artichokes and hearts of palm with the thyme, lemon zest, cream, fontina, white pepper and crab. Spoon the mixture into the gratin dishes.

In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, paprika, salt and melted butter. Sprinkle over the gratins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.

While the gratins bake, make the salad. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and maple syrup. Add the arugula, cherries and almonds and gently toss to coat. Serve topped with sea salt and black pepper.

Start to finish: 45 minutes. Servings: 2.

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