Chef Tom’s Perfect Valentine’s Day Dinner

A Note from Chef Tom – This is my 100th Column here on DBAWIS. Thanks to all.

A Note to Chef Tom from the Editor – Grateful to have you here …and this recipe has my name written all over it. Thank YOU!

I have a supper club that’s been going for over fifteen years with about twelve to fifteen cooking enthusiasts. Having it on Zoom is weird, but we’ve been doing it since the beginning. Each meal has a different theme, which is usually a country, or a region of a country. We’ve been around the world a few times. Once we even did Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

Tonight (Saturday) the theme is Romantic Paris (in honor of Valentine’s Day). Folks choose dishes that evoke Romance and Paris. When Dan and I first visited Paris, we walked through the 6th, across the Seine, behind Notre Dame, to Isle St. Louis. It was lunch time, we were hungry, it was misting outside. We darted into a small restaurant called Le Caveau d’Isle. The senior proprietress was coiffed and all of five feet tall. I stumbled through my French. She was gracious. The bells of the church down the street were going off. We were the only ones in the place. It was a moment. In honor of that memory, I’m making a Ribeye Steak with Blue Cheese (on their menu it’s called Entrecôte Grillée Sauce Roquefort). I’m out of duck fat, but I do have Manteca (pork fat), so I’ll do my famous smashed crispy potatoes on the side. Meat and Potatoes, baby.

Rib-eye with Blue Cheese

Grilled Bone-In Rib-Eye Steaks with Blue Cheese

4 servings

Adapted from Melissa Clark at the NYT

She says: The usual formula for cooking an amazing slab of steak is as simple as they come: salt plus pepper plus a short stint over a hot fire. But there are times when you want an extra shot of flavor. Some good crumbled blue cheese sprinkled on the hot steak so it melts over the top does just that, especially when you spike it with hot sauce and butter. And if blue cheese isn’t your thing, follow the directions here but leave your meat bare except for the salt and pepper. If you start with good meat, you will never go wrong.


2 (1 1/2-inch-thick) bone-in rib-eye steaks, about 1 1/4 pounds each

2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

Black pepper, as needed

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

2 ounces creamy blue cheese (splurge on the good stuff, like real Roquefort. If you like a little sweet, go for Cambezola. Stronger, use stilton, or gorgonzola)

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons finely chopped chives

Hot sauce, as needed


Pre-season steaks with salt and pepper at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before you plan to cook them. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature.

Heat your broiler.

Lightly oil steaks. Place on the second rack from the top. Set times for 5 minutes. Cook until steaks develop a golden-brown crust and some nicely charred spots. Carefully flip steaks and broil another 5 minutes. Turn off broiled and allow steaks to sit in the hot oven another 5 minutes. If you like your meat a bit more rare, skip the last step.

Transfer steaks to a cutting board to rest, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes. While steaks rest, stir together cheese, butter, chives and hot sauce.

Pour over steak before serving.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

4 small Yellow Finn Potatoes

3/8 cup duck fat (melted) or good quality olive oil or Manteca (pork/bacon fat)

1/4 bunch parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper

Place potatoes into large pot and cover with cold water.  Add 1 teaspoon salt per potato.

Bring water to rapid boil and reduce heat to a small, rolling boil (more than a simmer).

Boil potatoes until ¾ done. Test them after 10 minutes of boiling.  If the potatoes can be pierced with a knife, but there is still a little resistance, remove, drain and allow potatoes to cool.

Preheat oven to 375.

Once potatoes are cool enough to handle with your hands, lightly oil a large tray with olive oil.  Take one potato between the palms of your hands and smash it to about 1 inch thick (sometimes I’m in a hurry and can’t wait for the potatoes to cool completely, so I smash them using a clean dish towel.

Repeat for all potatoes. Places smashed potatoes onto oiled tray.  NOTE: Be careful to keep the body of the potato as intact as possible (see photo).

Lightly salt and pepper potatoes and drizzle melted fat over.  Roast in 375 degree oven, basting with melted fat, until potatoes are browned and crispy.  This will take about 3/4 of an hour or more. Be sure to rotate tray often for even roasting.  Remove to warming shelf above stove.

Plate potatoes on large platter and scatter chopped parsley on top for good presentation.






RIP Mr. Corea



Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

2 Responses to “Chef Tom’s Perfect Valentine’s Day Dinner”

  1. Lots of goodie good stuff here, Chef Tom, as always!
    Congrats on your 100th column! It’s a pleasure to call you a colleague! 😉

  2. marlene schuler Says:

    You shine “Major Tom”!

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