As Chef Ray Cournede writes, chocolate has come out of its proverbial box and made its way into our kitchens, enriching our savoury stews, chillis and pasta dishes, adding complexity and depth, just like a good wine.
The first quarter of every year is always very sweet. New Year, Valentine’s, Easter- molten lava cakes, chocolate truffles, Easter eggs; all these holidays can make even the biggest chocoholic cringe a little. But chocolate no longer need be just confined to the dessert table. Mexico has been adding chocolate to their savoury dishes for hundreds of years, and the rest of the world has finally caught up.
Chocolate has finally come out of its proverbial box and made its way into our kitchens, enriching our stews, chillis and pasta dishes, adding complexity and depth, just like a good wine.
And just like wine, chocolate has a huge range of flavours and characteristics from fruity to spicy, bitter to sweet. If you let it stand on its own, it becomes an ingredient just like cumin or butter. If you let go of what your preconception of chocolate is, which for the majority of people is desserts and candy bars, you are suddenly left with an incredible culinary weapon in your pantry.
When cooking, I like steering towards dark chocolate which is bitter. You should use it sparingly so that it doesn’t overpower your dish. It can be tricky to balance so make sure you taste as you go along. Try and use 75% for your savoury dishes but don’t go to 100% as this is way too bitter. If you want to start easy, try tossing cacoa nibs or grating dark chocolate over a salad or into a stew. However, don’t boil or cook the dish for a long time as this will burn the cacao solids. With those quick tips, here then is one of my favourite dishes at The Talisman Restaurant that you can easily make in your home kitchen. This bresaola and salted plums with cacao nibs salad recipe serves six, and would perfect for your family or friends.
Bresaola And Salted Plums With Cacao Nibs Salad Recipe
- 1 shallot (peeled and very thinly sliced)
- sherry vinegar (enough to cover the shallot)
- ¼ cup each of grape seed oil and extra-virgin olive oil
- pinch of both sea salt and sugar
- 2 bunches rocket (washed and trimmed)
- 12 thin slices bresaola
- 3 halves of thinly sliced pickled salted plums (recipe below)
- ½ cup cacao nibs
Pickled Salted Plums:
- 12 plums (halved and pitted)
- ¾ cups salt
- 2 cups sugar
- Place plums in a large bowl then toss with salt and sugar. Let this sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- For the dressing, cover the shallot in vinegar and add salt and sugar then let this sit for 30 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the oil to finish. Adjust seasoning as preferred and reserve.
- To make the salad, dress the rocket, season with salt and divide between individual plates.
- Drape a couple slices of bresaola over the rocket then garnish with plums and cacao nibs. Enjoy!