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ACA Chef Joseph Sheridan Shares $20 Valentine's Day Menu

February 8, 2012

There are few gestures more endearing than preparing dinner for your sweetheart. Chef Joseph Sheridan of Ocean City, educator at Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts, shares recipes for an upscale appetizer and entrée that can be prepared for your Valentine for less than $20.


Broiled Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette - $6

Ingredients, Mignonette:

·      2 tsp champagne vinegar

·      1 ½ tsp finely chopped shallot

·      Pinch, coarsely ground black pepper

·      Pinch, sugar

·      1 tsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1.)   In a large bowl, whisk together champagne vinegar, shallot, black pepper, sugar and parsley

2.)   Allow ingredients to rest for 20-30 minutes to create Mignonette

 Ingredients, Oysters:

·      1 cup salt, Kosher or coarsely ground

·      ½ dozen small oysters*

·      ½ T unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

*Kumamoto or Prince Edward Island, shells scrubbed well and oysters left on the half shell and oysters should be picked over for shell fragments


1.)   Spread ¾ cup salt in an 8- to 10-inch flameproof and shallow baking dish or pan

2.)   Arrange oysters on their shells in salt

3.)   Top each oyster with a piece of butter

4.)   Broil oysters in a pre-heated broiler until butter is melted and sizzling, and edges of oysters are beginning to curl, 1 to 2 minutes

5.)   Stir parsley into Mignonette. Divide remaining ¾ cup salt between 2 plates and arrange 3 oysters in each

6.)   Spoon ¼ teaspoon Mignonette over each oyster and serve warm


Almond-Crusted Rack of Lamb, Potato Parsnip Puree and Roasted Asparagus

with a Fig and Merlot Demi Glace - $13

Ingredients, Almond Crust:

·      ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs

·      ¼ cup ground almonds

·      1 T minced garlic

·      1 T chopped fresh rosemary

·      ½ tsp salt

·      1/8 tsp black pepper

·      1 T olive oil

Ingredients, Rack of Lamb:

·      1 each (7-bone) rack of lamb, trimmed

·      ½ tsp salt

·      1 tsp black pepper

·      1 T olive oil

·      1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard


1.) Move oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2.) In a large bowl, combine ground almonds, bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3.) Toss in 1-tablespoon olive oil to moisten mixture and set aside

4.) Season the rack of lamb all over with salt and pepper

5.) Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat. Sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides and set aside for a few minutes

6.) Brush rack of lamb with the mustard

7.) Roll in the bread crumb mixture until evenly coated

8.) Cover the ends of the bones with foil to prevent charring

9.) Arrange the rack bone side down in the skillet

10.) Roast the lamb in preheated oven for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you want.

11.) With a meat thermometer, take a reading in the center of the meat after 10 to 12 minutes (minimum internal temperature should read at least 145 degrees F), remove meat, or continue cooking to your liking

12.) Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between the ribs

13.) Reserve pan to prepare sauce

 Ingredients, Fig and Merlot Demi-Glace:

·      4 figs, stems removed and quartered

·      1 oz minced shallots

·      4 oz Merlot wine

·      4 oz lamb stock or beef broth

·      ½ tsp salt

·      1/8 tsp black pepper

·      2 T unsalted butter


1.)   Pour off the fat from the pan used to sear the lamb

2.)   Over a medium-high flame, add the shallots and sauté briefly

3.)   Add the wine and stock to the pan, stir and scrape up any brown bits in the pan

4.)   Reduce by ¾ to about 2 ounces

5.)   Off heat, whisk in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper

Ingredients, Potato and Parsnip Puree:

·      1 large potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

·      2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices

·      2 T chicken broth, heated

·      1 T butter

·      ¼ T Kosher Salt

·      1/8 T freshly ground black pepper

·      Fresh chives for garnish


1.) Place the potatoes and parsnips in a saucepan

2.) Add water to cover

3.) Heat over medium-high heat to a boil

4.) Cook at a simmer until the vegetables are tender

5.) Drain the vegetables well in a colander*

6.) Place the vegetables, broth and butter into a food processor or mixer with a paddle attachment

7.) Cover and process until the mixture is smooth

8.) Add the black pepper and chopped chives

9.) Cover and process until the mixture is just combined

10.) Garnish with additional chives

*Dry in a low oven if needed

Pair the dishes above with a dessert from ACA’s What’s Cooking recipe collection at Chef Sheridan suggests the Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Brownie Cookies, Molten Lava Cake, Chocolate Ganache or Crème Brulee with Raspberries.

The ACA, located at Atlantic Cape’s Mays Landing Campus, has been training future chefs since 1981. The Academy is celebrating 30 years of culinary achievement with events all year long. View a list of 30th anniversary events at For more information about the Academy, call 1-800-645‑CHEF, e-mail or visit