It’s Valentine’s Day again, and I just want to remind people there are alternatives to chocolate when it comes to showing your love.
Because let’s face it, at any given time many of us are on diets or at least watching what we’re eating. And a box of chocolates isn’t exactly helping out.
So if you’re looking for a romantic Valentine’s Day gift that’s truly from the heart, why not give the best gift of all — a mouth-watering, healthy meal you make yourself?
This week’s recipe is my version of a trendy dish served in restaurants across the United States — lobster pot pie. A typical pot pie like this will cost you around 680 calories and 46 grams of fat per serving. But I’ve downsized that to just 330 calories and six grams of fat.
I did this by turning the pie into a cobbler, which means the crust is only on top. And my crust is made from a lower-calorie pancake mix that gives you the taste of a pot pie, but without all the fattening richness of typical crusts. I’ve also added in lean beef tenderloin, making this a true surf and turf delight.
I saved you plenty of fat by thickening this dish with a delicious and pleasantly sweet puree of beets, instead of the usual butter, cream and flour.
— Save yourself some trouble and ask to have your lobster steamed for you while you shop. The seafood department at most grocers will do this for free. Some will even remove the meat from the shell for you.
Valentine’s Day Surf and Turf Cobbler
Start to finish: 45 minutes (30 minutes active)
625-g (1 1/4-lb) live lobster
125 g (4 oz) fresh asparagus spears (12 to 16 spears, depending on thickness), trimmed and cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) pieces
90 g (3 oz) beef tenderloin, cut into 8 cubes
Salt and ground black pepper
1 can (398 ml/14 oz) red beets with liquid
16 pumps butter spray
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh tarragon
150 ml (2/3 cup) heart-smart pancake and baking mix (such as Bisquick)
50 ml (1/4 cup) water
10 ml (2 tsp) prepared horseradish
In a large stockpot, bring 6 l (24 cups) of water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water nearby.
Submerge lobster in boiling water, then return water to a boil. Cook lobster for 4 minutes, adding asparagus to water for last 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer asparagus to ice water to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a kitchen towel to dry. Remove lobster from water and place on a sheet pan. Let cool until easy to handle.
Heat a medium non-stick skillet over high.
Season beef with salt and pepper, then spritz pan with cooking spray and add beef to pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until outsides are well browned and centres are rare, turning once. Transfer beef to a small plate and set aside.
Drain beets, reserving 50 ml (1/4 cup) of the liquid. Cut two-thirds of the drained beets (about 250 ml/1 cup) into bite-size pieces (save remaining beets for another use). Add half of the beet pieces to a blender along with the 50 ml (1/4 cup) of reserved liquid. Cover and blend until smooth.
Add 16 pumps of butter spray and cover and blend again just until combined. Pour pureed beets into a medium bowl and add remaining chopped beets. Add asparagus to beet mixture along with cooked beef cubes and fresh tarragon.
Heat oven to 200 C (400 F).
Remove meat from lobster and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to beet mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into a 1-l (4-cup) oven-safe glass bowl or souffle dish.
In a medium bowl, mix pancake mix and water. Drop dough into 6 small mounds over lobster mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until top is browned and filling is heated through. Remove and top with horseradish.
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 330 calories; 6 g fat (16 per cent of calories from fat) (1 g saturated); 80 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 5 g fibre; 1,356 mg sodium.
Rocco DiSpirito is author of the “Now Eat This!” and “Now Eat This! Diet” cookbooks.