Chocolate Fish

2010.Nov.04 Thursday · 3 comments

in Casa SaltShaker, Food & Recipes

“Give that man a chocolate fish!”

– popular expression in New Zealand to express thanks

Y’all do love yer chok-o-lit. It seems, amusingly, that each time we’ve offered customers input into the planning of one of our dinners, notably our “Iron Chef” style approach, though others as well, chocolate leaps to mind. I do realize that there are whole restaurants out there devoted to chocolate-based meals, and believe me, I have nothing against the stuff, but hmmm, this makes for our fifth chocolate based weekend based on public request in our five years of being open. I think next time I’m banning chocolate as one of the choices….

White Chocolate Avocado Tartlet with King Crab Salad

Not all of the dishes were going to be new ideas – I brought back the white chocolate and avocado tartlets with king crab salad – they were such a hit last time that I couldn’t leave them off. Oh, I should note, the other key ingredient selected by a customer was “seafood” – and then that customer didn’t even show up for dinner!

Cauliflower Soup with Cocoa Crusted Scallops

Cauliflower and cocoa go together really well. It might not be the first thing you’d think of, but it works. Here, a very simple cauliflower soup (which is amazingly good on its own either hot or chilled) – sweat a thinly sliced large white onion in butter until they’re soft. Add in a broken up head of cauliflower, cover and steam for about 10 minutes. Cover the cauliflower with whey (I had from making the filling for the tartlets above), or a mix of half water and half milk with a splash of vinegar for brightness. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until cauliflower is soft. Puree, season with salt and white pepper. Done. Into this I put sauteed scallops that were crusted in a mix of bitter cocoa, nutmeg, white pepper, ancho chili powder, sesame seed, cinnamon and smoked paprika. I also thinly sliced some chorizo colorado (cured chorizo) and sauteed it off as well. Some chopped cilantro atop and delicious!

Bitter Chocolate Chili Prawns

If you’ve not tried chocolate chili prawns, you’re simply a lost soul. The sauce is a simple reduction of tangerine juice and sherry with some bitter chocolate dissolved into it and a little salt, and infused with a cut open jalapeño just to give it a hint of heat. The prawns are butterflied, dusted in flour with salt and pepper. Saute finely chopped garlic and ginger in oil, add the prawns and cook until browned on all sides. Add about half the sauce, just enough to coat the prawns with a nice sheen of chocolate and tangerine. Serve up with more of the sauce.

Pecan crusted tigerfish

In the same dinner linked above I’d had an appetizer of pecan and cocoa-husk crusted catfish. This time I decided on it as the main course – so a bigger fillet of a fish from the Paraná Delta, called surubí, the Brazilian Tigerfish. Cooked the same way, served up with creamy polenta and some red cabbage cooked down in red wine. The sauce the same except using brandy instead of bourbon and a nice dash of habanero pepper added to give it some spice.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

No seafood in the final dish (I vaguely toyed with the idea of doing something like caramelizing some salmon roe, but decided against it). A gooey, rich, flourless chocolate cake infused with the same spices that go into making Chinese five spice powder (cinnamon, clove, anise, star anise and szechuan peppercorns), a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, and a salted pistachio and cashew brittle on the side.

I think we’ll give ourselves a chocolate fish!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

bimal March 4, 2011 at 11:53

if u have more food on chocolate i will love it.

dan March 7, 2011 at 07:57

Well, we’ve had some previous all chocolate dinners as well that you might find fun to look at: here, here, here and the main dish here.

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