Friday, May 18, 2007

Savory Chocolate Crustini with Maldon Sea Salt Crystals

This short and simple clip may seem a bit strange. The thought of topping a warm, olive oil soaked Crustini with chocolate and sea salt does take an open mind to contemplate. The first time I came across this combo, I too was understandable skeptical, but one bite and I was convinced. It worked. Not only did it work, it rocked!

The blending of the fruity/peppery olive oil, bittersweet dark chocolate, the warm crispy-edged bread, and the tiny crunch of briny sea salt crystals is quite the epicurean experience.

Most good cooks know that a pinch of salt in a dessert recipe is a must to bring out the sweetness of whatever you’re making. So topping the chocolate with flakes of the Maldon sea salt is really not that crazy. I guess it’s the fact that it’s served on top of warm Crustini that makes it seem so unusual.

To me this is a savory recipe, not a dessert. I think these are perfect with a nice glass of red wine or port. It would make for a very unique passed Hors D’ouvre. This is not a sweet bite if you use the bittersweet chocolate I suggest. You could use semi-sweet, but then I think you just crossed the savory-sweet border and now definitely have a dessert item. Anyway, it’s the season of faith, so have some, and give this a try!

By the way, this was NOT inspired by a certain animated TV Chef from South Park, Colorado! If it was, I would have called it, “Chef’s Salty Chocolate Crustini.” I almost provided a link to the song, but discretion prevailed (and hey, you can always google it). Apologies to all of you that are not South Park fans and have no idea what I’m talking about.

Sliced baguette
bittersweet chocolate
olive oil
Maldon sea salt crystals, or other flaky type sea salt

The Maldon salt you see in the clip is a really interesting ingredient and I’ve included a link here, in case you want more info.
igourmet 8.8-oz. Maldon Sea Salt


Anonymous said...

that is a great flaky salt, they also sell it at Whole Foods I believe.

Tyler Hinkle said...

Intriguing. I always hear about cayenne pepper going well with chocolate, and I know you are a big fan of it in general. Would a small pinch on each be going overboard with this? Would it be worth it, or just too much?

Chef John said...

only one way to find out!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm convinced. This looks so good and the flavors sound amazing.

Anonymous said...

You're a South Park fan, chef?
I'm impressed!

Chef John said...


Anonymous said...

Hello, I just did these and they are very nice. At first I wasn't sure about the salt, but since you do it, I better try it and it was great!

Thanks Chef!