If you’re on TikTok (or have a youth in your home that’s on the app), you may have heard of marry me chicken, a dish so delicious it has motivated countless feet-draggers to drop their doubts and pop the question. (You can read Christina Morales’s fun piece on the subject in The New York Times.) There are hundreds of variations on this recipe, but ours, from Naz Deravian, features sautéed chicken cutlets with a creamy sun-dried tomato, Parmesan and basil sauce (above). Even tying the knot is not your goal, this deluxe meal will make anyone at the table fall head over heels in love with it.
Could a salad ever be that seductive? Absolutely! And I would put my money on Caesar — perhaps my brussels sprouts Caesar with chunky, crunchy croutons, Pecorino Romano and a good dose of garlic for my beloved and me (use more or less, to your heart’s desire). I add a minced anchovy or two to the dressing, which makes it even more irresistible.
Or you could go for something salad-inspired but a bit heartier, like Ali Slagle’s one-pan salmon Niçoise with orzo. Perfect for cozy, chilly evenings when you long for summer, this mix of salmon, green beans and tomatoes is cooked in the same pan as olive-speckled orzo. And if it doesn’t feel like Niçoise without tuna, feel free to substitute a can of it for the salmon.
Perhaps noodles are your love language? Judy Kim’s chile-oil noodles with cilantro can be whipped up in 20 minutes, giving you plenty of time to set the scene, arranging flowers and lighting candles.
Then for dessert, you couldn’t do better than Yossy Arefi’s chocolate lava cake for two with its gooey ganache heart that gushes onto your spoon when you dig in. Even better, you can prepare the batter a day ahead, then pop it in the oven just before serving.
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Many people are anchovy-averse because, real talk, there are a lot of awful brands on the market. Your best bet are the jarred anchovies in which you can see the fillets lined up in stripes. They should look reddish or light brown in color, rather than murky dark brown. Avoid any fish curled up with a caper, which could have something to hide. And check the label — the anchovies should be immersed in olive oil, preferably extra-virgin.