Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Alchemy At Home: Chocolate, Olive Oil & Salt

Three unlikely ingredients... or are they?Nope - you may find it hard to believe, but this is not some revolutionary new combination that only someone as crazy as Ferran Adrià could have dreamt up. Ever since I discovered the amazing effect that could be achieved by combining dark chocolate and sea salt back home at Bacchus, I'd always assumed that Nuno's dark chocolate truffle with a single salt crystal was a derivative of the work of Adrià. Not an unreasonable assumption, given that Nuno Mendes trained for some time at El Bulli and... hold on a sec... we even use chocolate, olive oil and salt together at Comerç 24, and our boss Carles Abellán was senior sous chef at the culinary Mecca for nine years. It all hangs together.

It wasn't until one less-than-busy evening mid-week, when Head Chef Arnau sent Michael and I to eat at a traditional Catalan place owned by friends of his, that I realised just how traditional a collaboration chocolate, olive oil and sea salt is over here. Just check this out if you don't believe me. It's a combination that has been eaten since long before El Bulli became what it is today.

An amazing combination on the palateSo here's my version of this Catalan classic. Nothing fancy - just good dark chocolate melted, poured into spoons and chilled to set into the shape you see below. Drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and finished with a single crystal of Maldon salt. You really have to click the picture and enlarge it to get the full effect. Well, no... actually you really have to eat it to get the full effect. If you are brave enough to try this this at home for the first time, let me offer you three words of advice. Expect the unexpected.


ros said...

If Goon hadn't stolen my keys today, I'd be straight across the road to pick up some Green and Black's to try that right now. As it is, the chocolate I have here has already been well flavoured with peppercorns and chilli so I think I'll leave it as it is.

By the way, I've decided school holidays almost make up for the lack of time I have to cook during term time. Right now I've got my feet on the sofa and am enjoying a breakfast of smoked salmon and cava with nothing to do today. Have a good day at work ;).

Trig said...

Ros - Lol! I knew there had to be some advantage to being a teacher. I'm just heading out to start another 12-hour day at work. Mind you, I wouldn't swap with you. Enjoy the "champagne" breakfast.

Joseph Bayot said...

Hey Trig! I think this blog is really great. It's great to see a mix of so many traditional ideas and tastes with a mix of the more avant garde/progressive cooking.

Haha I actually went to culinary school for a year but I'm now going to school to become a teacher.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Ah yes. A great combo. Having had some of Damian Allsop's very fine chocolate (with salt), I know that it works. Haven't tried it with olive oil yet, mind. Looking forward to doing so...

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