The Bachelor’s Guide to First-Rate, First-Date Dining

Ahh… the world of dating, you’ve exchanged numbers with the cute bartender from the weekend or perhaps the girl you ran into at the gym, or your new lady friend from that work conference. Regardless, you have the ominous task of thinking about that first date. Chances are you will choose the universal collective of eating, but where and what? Cheap and cheerful? Maybe that brand new brasserie? Or an ethnic enticement perhaps?

In my humble opinion there is no better way to impress than to cook for a woman. Show her your confidence, altruism, affection and thoughtfulness all in the space of an hour. Now you definitely want to ensure your dish suits you, and her; you don’t want to be caught cooking Beef Bourguignon for a vegetarian. Featured is a humble cook’s dish that will warm the hearts of any woman and can be adjusted to individual tastes. Remember it’s not the quantity of dishes you know to cook but the quality.

Jewfish and vongole en papillote, green beans and sauce vierge

Sounds fancy right? En papillote translates to “in envelope” ..or let’s be realistic “bag”.

Baking paper
Aluminium foil
A medium sized sauce pan
A few stainless steel bowls

2 fillets of Jewfish (or similar white flesh fish, skin removed)
A dozen vongole (500g)
White wine
The juice of 1 lemon
Green beans

For the sauce vierge:
Tomato (diced finely seeds removed)
Parsley (finely chopped)
Lemon juice
Olive oil

Firstly lay your aluminum foil flat on the bench with the baking paper layered over the top. Place your fish fillets in the middle, perch the vongole on top and season well. Repeat with the second fillet of fish. You should now have two individual bags (hopefully).

Next, you’ll need to seal your bag – crumple the edges at the sides, leaving a small gap in the top to add your liquids. Once you add your lemon juice and a splash of white wine to each bag and crumple the top to seal off.

After that, you’ll need to sort out the sauce vierge. A simple task… Just combine the ingredients. You’re basically making a fresh vinaigrette. It’s a personal taste, so play with your quantities till you’re satisfied (it should have a slight sharpness to complement through the fish). For added brownie points hone your parsley chopping skills and reserve it until your date arrives, casually show her your gentlemanly prowess with a blade.

Clean up the kitchen and prepare for your date. Put a nice dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer in the fridge – heck if you’re getting real fancy, ice and a bucket is sure to impress. Queue up a sensuous playlist (Proven successes include Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield and James Brown) and clean yourself up.

As your date arrives place your fish into a pre heated moderate oven (150-165 fan forced) for 8 – 11 minutes or until tender and the Vongole have opened. Cook your beans for 1- 2 minutes in salted boiling water ensuring they retain their vibrant green colour and crunch. Plate them as you see fit, with lashings of the sauce vierge.

Let the wine and conversation flow, and thank me in the morning.


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