Chef’s Choice

Chef’s Choice – this month’s foodie selection as recommended by Chef Mark Graves of Marko’s on 2nd, 135 S. 2nd St. in Decatur

What a better time of year to impress your loved one with your culinary skills than the month that includes Valentine’s Day!

Don’t get me wrong; as a chef and restaurant owner, I love seeing all the couples in the restaurant on this special day. It’s one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, and tends to be a little chaotic for those couples looking for a more romantic or intimate setting. What’s more romantic than a candle lit dinner with a bottle of sparkly in the comfort of your own home? This is actually how my wife and I spend most our Valentine’s Days after I get done cooking for all the other happy couples on this night.

For this year’s romantic Valentine’s Day, you are going to need some sexy ingredients. Test your cooking skills by making Lobster Linguine with White Truffle, Goat Cheese Cream Sauce.

Lobster Linguine with White Truffle-Goat Cheese Cream Sauce.

lobster linguine2 1-1⁄2 lb. Live Lobsters
3 T. Olive Oil
1⁄2 C. Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Julienne)
1⁄4 C. White Wine
1⁄4 C. Shallots (Diced)
1 Clove Garlic
1 T. Fresh Tarragon (Chopped)
1 t. Fresh Thyme (Chopped)
1 oz. White Truffle Oil
1⁄2 C. Goat Cheese (Crumbled)
3 C. Heavy Whipping Cream
1⁄2 lb. Linguine

Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. Add lobsters and boil until cooked through, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. After cool, remove the lobster meat from the tail and claw, discarding the tomalley (green matter). On a cutting board, cut the tail meat into medium chunks, leaving the claw whole. Refrigerate and reserve for later use.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add shallots and garlic until lightly browned, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add white wine to the shallot and garlic mixture, bring to a simmer; reduce by half. Add heavy whipping cream; simmer. Reduce for four minutes.

Next, slowly whisk in the crumbled goat cheese; reduce to low heat. Add lobster, fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes; cook on low heat for two minutes.

Finally, add the linguine and white truffle oil to the goat cheese cream, heat until warmed through; serve immediately. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Pairs Well With…

IronHorse-Sparkling-RussianCuveeI would recommend a nice sparkling wine to cut through the richness of the cream sauce. A bottle from my personal favorite vineyard is the 2010 Russian Cuvee from Iron Horse Vineyards. The 2010 Russian Cuvee is a small production California sparkling wine that is made of 50-percent Chardonnay and 50-percent Pinot Noir grapes. This California sparkling has flavors of ripe red apple, lime, brioche and brown sugar. It’s said this is the perfect toasting wine. I believe it’s perfect for a toast or to accompany many foods.

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