Valentine’s Day – from appetizer to dessert

  • Tuesday, February 9, 2016 5:48pm
  • LifeFood

Last month, when offering recipes from Cook’s Country “Cook It In Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All,” by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen, I promised more cast-iron skillet recipes in time for Valentine’s Day – and here they are: a recipe for “Thick-Cut Steaks with Herb Butter” and another for a “Caramelized Onion, Pear and Bacon Tart.” I also tried baking a batch of brownies in my cast iron skillet for serving warm, like a cobbler. With the proof being in the brownie, not only was the outcome better than expected, but enjoying it spooned, straight from the skillet, along with some vanilla ice cream, elevated the humble brownie from a homey kind of fudgy soft cookie to a luscious dessert perfect for sharing.

The recipe for steak shares protocols for preheating a cast iron skillet in a 500-degree oven to achieve a perfect sear on a steak that is started in the oven and finished on top of the stove. The end result is a steak with a “perfectly browned, crisp crust and a juicy, evenly cooked interior.” With good steak so pricey, it’s heartening to have a recipe as reliable as this at hand.

Served as a hors d’oeuvre, the uncommon savory-sweet tart, consisting of caramelized onions, a Bosc pear and bacon, makes for a lovely prelude to any steak dinner, but most especially one planned for Valentine’s Day. The tart uses pizza dough as a base, either store-bought or one you make yourself.

For preparing everything from appetizers to brownies, owning a cast-iron skillet just gets better and better. In honor of Valentine’s Day, why not begin with dessert?


Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at


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