What's Cooking For Valentine's Day

Restaurant Seafood Paella Served with Clams and Shrimp

"Seafood paella at Picaro in the Mission" by Neeta Lind is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

By Dale Mayo, February 2, 2023

Valentine’s Day is upon us…  For some, it conjures up images of chocolates, roses, and champagne; for others, heart-shaped beds and hot tubs; and for many, it is a stressor. February 14th has become a day of expectation for boyfriends and girlfriends, those hoping for a proposal, and those hoping for romance.  That’s a lot of pressure for one day.The myths surrounding the day are many and diverse (see graphic below). There is one thing we can all agree on:  a tasty, healthy meal should be part of the plan.

Valentine’s Day Myths


Invented by greeting card companies

  • The Victorians exchanged handmade cards prior to commercialization of the traditions. Cadbury first put chocolates in heart-shaped boxes in 1868. In 2018, Americans spent over $20 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day, including over $750 million on their beloved pets.

February 14 traces back to the Romans as a day to celebrate love

  • Some believe that the Roman Lupercalia, a drunken festival to cleanse the city and promote fertility, may be the origin of the mid-February tradition. Geoffrey Chaucer, in his 14th century poem “Parlement of Foules,” appears to be the first to link the feast of St. Valentine with romance.

Directly connected with Saint Valentine

  • The Oxford Dictionary of Saints says that the romantic stories connecting lovers with St. Valentine were likely invented centuries after the deaths of the Roman martyrs.

Cupid is a sweet little cherub

  • Prior to Victorian Valentine’s Day cards, cupid – the Roman version of Greek Eros – was a young man who was beautiful and seductive. Through the centuries he was transformed and by the Renaissance was depicted as a childlike cherub.

Single people are miserable on Valentine’s Day

  • Contrary to the themes of many popular movies, single people usually live alone by choice. They are likely to have stronger ties to friends and neighbors, to place a higher value on meaningful work, and to experience more personal growth than their married friends.
Restaurant Lobster Tails Served in White Dish with Broccoli and Butter Dip

"Lobster Tail Tuesdays" by kurmanstaff is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Seafood recipes for your (sweet)heart

Sizzlefish has lots of good recipes on it’s website, including some dedicated to Valentine’s Day. Here are a few palate-pleasing seafood dishes that would make almost any (sweet)heart happy.

  • Lobster: It’s hard to beat lobster tails and champagne to set a romantic scene. Use this link to learn how to prepare lobster tails
  • Salmon: With just six ingredients, Honey Bourbon Salmon[3] is a delicious entrée full of rich flavor and protein and is ready in half an hour. The honey bourbon sauce (which could also be used on grilled shrimp), made with bourbon, honey, soy sauce, Dijon mustard and garlic powder, can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.
  • Scallops: For a super-simple one dish meal, try Scallops in Parchment.[4]  It’s hard to go wrong with scallops, tomatoes, beans, fennel, parsley, oil, salt, and pepper baked in a parchment packet.
  • White fish (catfish, halibut, haddock, or cod): You can make this Quick Fish and White Bean Stew[5] ahead of time. It is a simple, delicious, light but filling dish with fish (you can use as much as you wish), red peppers, onions, white beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs and spices. See recipe at the end of the article (there is no web link).
  • Shrimp: Another tasty romantic meal is Garlic Orzo Tuscan Shrimp,[6] in which orzo is combined with shrimp, garlic, roasted red peppers, baby bellas, and spinach in a light Parmesan cheese sauce.
  • Paella: Chicken and seafood are used in this easy and healthy version of Slow Cooker Chicken and Seafood Paella[7] that cooks in just a couple of hours time.

Suggested wine pairings

If you want to add a bottle of wine or bubbly to your dinner menu, the table below offers wine pairing selections for types of seafood and style of preparation.  A more detailed description of which wines pair well with which seafood dishes, check out this Sizzlefish webpage.[8]

Seafood dish

Suggested wine pairing






Sauvignon Blanc

Dry Reisling

Pinot Gris

Grüner Veltliner

Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon BlancA

Acrobat Pinot Gris 2019 (Oregon)B



Navarro Vineyards GewürztraminerA



Pinot Grigio

Chenin Blanc

Bonterra Vineyards ChardonnayA

Cambria Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Katherine’s Vineyard 2017C



Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards ChardonnayA



Domaine André Neveu SancerreA


Sparkling Wine

J Vintage Brut NVA




Grilled Seafood

Sparkling, full-bodied white, and red wine

Pinot Gris



Pinot Noir


Merisi Pinot Gris Los Carneros 2020C

Ridge Vineyards 2019 Three Valleys Zinfandel Blend, Sonoma CountyC

Whitehall Lane 2017 Merlot, Napa ValleyC

Esser Vineyards Pinot NoirA

Kanpai London, FIZU Sparkling Sake, JapanD

Fried seafood

Sparkling Wine, Rosé




Asti Spumante

Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley NV ChampagneC

Villa Conchi Cava Brut Seleccion

Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence RoséC

Spicy seafood


Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica 2019C

A  Southern Living

B Wine Enthusiast

C Wine Spectator

D Decanter

There are thousands of articles, blogs, songs, videos, and news programs that give advice about how to make your Valentine’s Day special.  The themes are similar for singles, pairs, married couples, families – do something that makes you feel good (e.g., streaming shows that star your favorite actor, buying roses, taking a hike, traveling to play in the sun or snow, volunteering).  Exercise can help relieve stress and can boost endorphins.[9] Whatever else you choose to do for Valentine's Day, preparing a healthy, savory meal is a good plan for everyone and Sizzlefish is here to help.

Quick fish and white bean stew[10]


2 red bell peppers, sliced

2 medium onions, sliced

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups sliced mushrooms

6 medium tomatoes, chopped

1½ cups cooked white beans (15oz can, no-salt)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp Herbes de Provence

¼ tsp black pepper

⅓ pound firm fish filets, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


Heat 1/8 cup water on medium heat in a large pan. Add the bell peppers and onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms  and continue cooking for another 6-8 minutes or until tender, adding more water if necessary to keep vegetables from sticking.

Add the tomatoes, beans, garlic, herbes de Provence, and black pepper and simmer on low heat for 4 minutes. Add the fish to the stew and mix in gently. Cover and simmer on low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Before serving, stir in lemon juice.



[1]  Catron, M.L. (2019). Five myths about Valentine’s Day. The Washington Post, February 8, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/five-myths-about-valentines-day/2019/02/08/6f5ddaac-29c4-11e9-b2fc-721718903bfc_story.html

[2]   https://www.sizzlefish.com/blogs/lobster-recipes/how-to-prepare-lobster-tails

[3]   https://www.sizzlefish.com/blogs/salmon/honey-bourbon-salmon

[4]  https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/scallops-parchment

[5]  Fuhrman, J. Eat To Live Quick & Easy Cookbook. New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2017. Print.

[6]  https://zonacooks.com/garlic-orzo-tuscan-shrimp/#mv-creation-25-jtr

[7]  https://fitslowcookerqueen.com/slow-cooker-chicken-seafood-paella/

[8]  https://www.sizzlefish.com/pages/seafood-wine-pairings

[9]  https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

[10]   Fuhrman, J. Eat To Live Quick & Easy Cookbook. New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2017. Print.

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