Skip the Valentine’s Day commercialism! Salmon for you and your lova any day of the year!

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By Chef Joey

I was supposed to write an article about Valentine’s Day and share a recipe – I can still share a recipe, but my skew on this “hallmark holiday” has changed. I worked a double shift Friday night and, with the snow pending, many couples made their way to various establishments and dined to avoid the “Valentine’s Rush” – not unlike the “Mother’s Day Rush” (which is always a fun Sunday – just sayin’!).

So Valentine’s Day celebrations this year were about people going out early because of the winter storm that was bearing down on Worcester. And Massachusetts –  the very state that once had the “curse” but beat the Yankees – now exceeds the snowfall average for the entire union! (Sorry Southern States – Sherman had a dream).

So waiting for dinner for 45 minutes to an hour and a half is protocol because who wants to rush a romantic dinner? Never mind the Valentine’s Day $75 roses that cost just $20 today. It’s cheaper to feed chocolates to the neighborhood at Halloween than to buy a heart-shaped box of Russell Stovers!

So the legend begins with Saint Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire . According to legend , during his imprisonment, Saint Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell. Hence the ancient precursor to the “Valentine” cards or letters of today.

Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer during the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering sweets , and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). In Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart,” as well as to children, in order to ward off Saint Valentine’s Malady or illnesses.

Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the omni-present figure of the winged Cupid . Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards that seem obligatory to commemorate the day.

Here is a quick recipe that can be the precursor to any romantic encounter! This one involves salmon, but you can substitute chicken as well.

Ingredients:

1 lemon, thinly sliced

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed 2

salmon fillets, bones and skin removed

coarse salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Arrange half the lemon slices in a single layer in a baking dish.

Layer with 2 sprigs rosemary and top with salmon fillets.

Sprinkle salmon with salt and layer with remaining rosemary sprigs. Top with remaining lemon slices. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until fish is easily flaked with a fork. (Bake 30 minutes for chicken.)

Serve with fluffy basmati rice and a grilled veggie of your choice – I like asparagus.