Are you looking to “wow” that special someone in your life this Valentine’s Day? Nothing shows you care more than preparing a special homemade meal for two. Avoid the crowds, light some candles, and bust out the fine china—you've got some cooking to do.
If you’re trying to serve a dish that’s guaranteed to impress on date night, we suggest using an induction cooktop for your recipe. Induction differs slightly from traditional cooking methods, as heat is generated directly in the pan instead of the cooking surface. You won’t lose as much heat during the cooking process, and it can be powered off by simply removing the pan from the cooktop.
Before we take a bite out of these date night recipes, we need to take a further look at induction cooktops and how this cooking method can enhance the quality of your meals.
Induction cooking is already a favorite of high-end chefs, but it’s gaining traction among amateur cooks for the dramatically shortened amount of time it takes to prepare meals on the stovetop.
Making a special dinner doesn’t have to be overwhelming—an induction cooktop provides faster, more powerful heat, increased temperature control, and greater energy-efficiency because the energy used is transferred directly to the food instead of the surrounding environment.
Induction also acts as a helpful safety feature if you’re cooking with your kids or cleaning up the after-meal mess. The cooktop remains cool to the touch no matter how high the temperature is, and since the cooking surface is cool, spills or splatters won’t stain or burn onto your cooktop. And without any heat generating from your appliance, this helps to keep your kitchen at a much more comfortable temperature. It can be unpleasant and uncomfortable to cook in a sweltering kitchen, but luckily, induction allows you to keep your cool.
As we mentioned, a traditional stovetop uses gas or electricity to heat a burner or coil whereas the electromagnetic fields on an induction cooktop turn your pots and pans into cooking generators; however, not every kind of cookware can work with induction heat. Your pots and pans need to have a flat bottom to make direct contact with the cooking surface, and they must be made from magnetic materials to withstand the high heat.
Cast iron or stainless steel are the two best materials for induction cooking. If you’re not sure if your current cookware is safe to use, read any labels or packaging to see if it is induction-compatible, or you can place a small magnet on the base of your cookware and see if it sticks to the surface of the cooktop. If not, then it might be time to invest in some new cookware—Le Creuset is always a fine option.
Before your hunger sets in and you resort to taking a trip through the Taco Time drive-thru, we’ve highlighted 4 date night recipes that are perfect to test out on your induction cooktop.
1. Pan-Seared Rib-Eye Steaks with Porcini Mushrooms
We're swinging for the fences right away. There's nothing like a good steak to test the precision and versatility of a new cooktop. You can achieve a nice, even browning on these steaks after searing on an induction stovetop. And adding dried porcini mushrooms creates a rich and complex flavor to pair with the steaks.
- COURSE: DINNER
- SERVINGS: 4-6
- 2 boneless rib-eye steaks
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 1/4-ounce of dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Place the steaks and soy sauce in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and let the steaks marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, turning occasionally.
- Process porcini mushrooms in a spice mill until they have a fine powder consistency. Mix your mushroom powder with your rosemary and pepper.
- Drain your steaks and pat them dry. Sprinkle the mushroom-rosemary rub generously over both sides of steak, pressing to adhere.
- Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Cook the steaks until browned and cooked to the desired doneness—about 8 minutes per side for rare. Adjust the heat if your steaks start to brown too quickly.
- Transfer steaks to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Let rest for 10 minutes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and serve.
2. Lamb Stew with Lemon and Figs
This stew recipe is the perfect dish for testing out your induction cooktop because it requires multiple temperature changes for browning, sautéing, boiling, simmering, and reheating.
- COURSE: DINNER
- SERVINGS: 6
- 1 and 1/2 cups of plain whole-milk yogurt
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup of warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon of saffron threads
- Boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed, and cut into 1 and 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 onions thinly sliced
- 1 small lemon thinly sliced
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of dried figs
- 2 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth
- 1 pack of crispy noodles
- Pour yogurt into a small bowl, stir in the mint, and season with salt and pepper. Leave to chill.
- Place 1/2 cup of warm water and saffron in another bowl; let stand for at least 20 minutes to infuse.
- Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook lamb until brown on all sides, adding more oil as needed.
- Transfer lamb to a large bowl and pour the fat from the pot over the meat. Warm over medium heat, add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until brown.
- Add lemon, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne, saffron mixture, tomatoes, figs, and lamb with any juices to the pot. Stir to coat evenly. Pour in chicken broth.
- Bring stew to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover with a lid slightly ajar and simmer until meat is tender; about 1 and 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally and add more broth as needed.
- Divide stew among 6 plates and top each serving with a dollop of minted yogurt. Place a wedge of crispy noodle cake alongside each plate and serve.
A special date night is deserving of a special meal, and it doesn’t get much fancier than seared scallops. Induction works great for seafood because it heats quickly, and the high temperature will give the outside of your scallop a perfect crust without drying it out.
3. Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- COOK TIME: 4 MINUTES
- COURSE: DINNER
- SERVINGS: 4
- 1-pound of fresh scallops
- Kosher salt and white pepper
- 1 lemon, zested
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted, sweet cream butter
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Minced garlic (optional)
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- Lemon cut in quarter slices for garnish
- Pat scallops dry and toss them with 2 tablespoons of pepper, salt, and olive oil.
- Heat the oil in a grill pan. When the oil becomes hot, add the scallops, and cook on each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butter to the pan. Just as the butter melts, turn the scallops over and add the lemon juice.
- Cook scallops an additional minute before removing them from the heat. Add lemon zest to the pan and stir sauce to blend.
- Spoon any sauce in the pan over the scallops and sprinkle the parsley over the top.
- Serve immediately as scallops cool down quickly.
Chicken marsala is a familiar comfort-food dish that tastes great on a cold winter day. It might be one of those recipes your grandma used to make, but it’s even better when prepared on an induction cooktop. And when you’re cooking with wine, how could you complain?
4. Chicken Marsala
- COOK TIME: 27 MINUTES
- COURSE: DINNER
- SERVINGS: 4
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves without skin
- ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- ½ teaspoon of dried basil leaf
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 to 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
- ½ cup of Marsala wine
- Between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound your chicken until it’s a quarter-inch thick.
- Combine salt, flour, basil, and pepper.
- Heat oil and butter in a sauté pan on medium-high heat.
- Dredge chicken in seasoned flour mixture. Cook chicken until it is lightly browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn chicken and cook about 2 minutes longer.
- Remove chicken and add mushrooms. Cook about 6 minutes until lightly browned.
- Pour Marsala wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes before serving.
Let's Get Cooking
Now that you know about induction cooking, you’re ready for date night. If you’re looking for a good place to start, explore our catalog of induction cooktops. One of our best-selling models is the stylish GE Café Flagstone Gray Induction Cooktop (CHP95302MSS). You can master any cuisine with Gourmet Guided Cooking, and easily adjust temperatures, set timers, and more with WiFi Connect. Five induction elements allow for greater flexibility in the kitchen so you can cook like a pro.
Before long, induction will become your favorite method of cooking. Ride the wave of culinary prowess and set the gold-standard for precision and skill in the kitchen. Give us a call, shop online, or visit us at Albert Lee to discover our wide array of cooking appliances.