Valentine’s Day Dinner is one of the biggest restaurant days of the year.  If you want to avoid the crowds and create a memorable meal for 2 at home, read on.

Sheet pan suppers are all the rage, mainly because they are time efficient to make and fewer dishes to wash.  Our dinner menu suggestion for an at-home comfortable Valentine’s Dinner is Crunchy Pesto Salmon, Smashed Bite-Sized Honey Golds and Fresh Asparagus.

Actually, the potatoes take the longest to cook, since it is necessary to par boil them about 8-10 minutes in order to smash them for crisping in the oven.
Purchased pesto is a store-bought time saver. I look in the Italian section of the grocery store for small jars whose ingredient list starts with olive oil first.  We use it on the salmon and as a condiment on the dinner plate, since it has such an affinity for potatoes and asparagus.

First, prepare a small baking sheet by covering the bottom with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray with olive oil spray.  Then, preheat oven to 450 degrees or 425 degrees convection.

Crunchy Pesto Salmon
2 (5-ounce) portions of salmon filet, skinless
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heaping teaspoons basil pesto + 2 heaping tablespoons for serving
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil spray
Cut 3 diagonal slits in each fillet, not too deep. Sprinkle each filet with 1-teaspoon of lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon 1-heaping teaspoon of pesto onto each filet, making sure that some pesto gets into each slit and spread to the edges.  Let rest in refrigerator while preparing potatoes and asparagus.

Crispy “Smashed” Potatoes
10-12 small “bite-sized” honey gold potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Wash potatoes and remove any imperfections with a small knife.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook over medium heat until fork tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from water and place potatoes onto one end of the prepared baking sheet.
With a potato masher or small fork, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes. Rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again.  Brush or spray the tops of each potato with olive oil. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.

Roasted Asparagus
10-12 medium width asparagus spears
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Rinse asparagus. Near the bottom of each spear, there is a natural bending point. Bend the spear at that point and snap off that tough end and discard. Place asparagus on the other end of the baking sheet.  Toss with ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle spears with kosher salt and pepper.

About 20 minutes before you wish to eat, remove the salmon from the refrigerator and place on the center area of the baking sheet.  Sprinkle each filet with ¼ cup of panko and press to adhere.  Spray with olive oil spray so that it roasts and becomes nicely brown and crispy.    Remove from the oven; divide and place on 2 serving  plates along with a dollop of the extra pesto.

You already have the chocolate dessert.  Next watch for the Pomegranate Margarita to begin the evening. 

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