HL Culinary Ambassador Dominique Crenn Shares Her Ultimate Valentine’s Day Menu

Valentine's Day Photo Credit: Ahturner/Shutterstock.com

Love! Love is the most important ingredient not only in your kitchen but in life. Never forget that with love anything is possible. But my second favorite ingredient is sea salt. Most people don’t realize that you need to use salt to bring out the best flavor in your dishes. Sea salt is best because it is pure, straight from the ocean and it brings a clean, brightness to food. Use it to season as you create dishes, or sprinkle a little bit to finish a dish- adding flavor and crunch. Right next to your salt, you need to have black peppercorns and a peppermill to grind them fresh. Salt and pepper are all you need to season properly. It is very helpful to also have a very good quality extra-virgin olive oil and a favorite vinegar. Both ingredients are staples for a variety of cuisines, helping in the creation of a multitude of sauces. With all of these ingredients you can create amazing dishes! Including this one…

Dominique Crenn’s Valentine’s Day Dinner:

Salmon Mi-Cuit with Charred Leeks, Sauce Béarnaise

Salt Photo Credit: Kira Necheporchuk/Shutterstock.com(Serves 4)
Equipment List
2 large saucepans
1 medium saucepan 1 small pot
Grill, torch, or broiler whisk
Fine sieve
Heatproof bowl

Salmon Mi-Cuit

4 pieces of salmon, 5 oz. each 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Lightly salt the pieces of salmon and add them to the pan. Let them cook halfway through on one side only. Remove from heat. The salmon can also be cooked slowly in a 350F oven.

Charred Leeks
2 leeks, cleaned with end removed
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place leeks on a hot grill. Over fire is best in order for them to char but under a high heat broiler or with a torch will suffice. Cook until leeks are charred.
Move them to a pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and cook at medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and continue to cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Season to taste and serve hot.

B​é​arnaise Sauce
5 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons butter, diced
To a medium saucepan over medium heat, add white wine, vinegar, shallot, and salt and pepper. Cook until the mixture is slightly reduced and the alcohol is burnt off. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a separate bowl, making sure that all pieces of shallot are removed. Add a few inches of water to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof bowl over the simmering water and add the egg yolks. Whisk continuously until the yolks are thick and whipped. Continue whisking while you slowly drizzle in the white wine reduction. Slowly add butter and keep warm until use.

On the side
Dress your vegetables for an amazing salad, add extra flavor to your pasta, season your fish before you grill it. The possibilities are endless.


Lorenza RosePhoto Credit: WINE ACCESS

The only wine that I can recommend is rosé. Rosé all day! Enjoy a glass by itself on a warm day, pair it with your favorite vegetables, seafood, or a spread of soft cheeses. I specifically love 2019 Lorenza for its light and refreshing taste. The 2019 Lorenza Rose reminds me and tasted of warm summer afternoons sipping and laughing with loved one in the South of France. And after, love is the most important ingredient any chef needs.

Lorenza rosé California 2019, $19, Available at WineAccess.com 


Dominique CrennPhoto Credit: Andreas Branch
Dominique Crenn is the co-owner and chef of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, where artistry is at the forefront, cuisine is a craft, and the community is an inspiration. She can be credited with not only being the first female chef in the U.S. to receive two and three Michelin stars, in 2012 and 2018, respectively. Additional accolades among her many include the 2018 James Beard Award for Best Chef: West, and in 2019, Atelier Crenn came in at No. 35 on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. She is also the owner of Petit Crenn, also in San Francisco, Bar Crenn, a wine bar situated next door to Atelier Crenn, has written two best-selling cookbooks, Metamorphosis of Taste and Rebel Chef, and founded VitaBowl, a plant-based superfood meal delivery service from veggies grown on her own farm. er next venture is Boutique Crenn, set to open at the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.