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Chocolate and cocoa are rare ingredients in traditional cooking. However, you can use them to create some unusual – and often rather refined – combinations of flavours. In this third part of our “Chocolate Special”, we suggest a few recipes to help you prepare a couple of meals to amaze your friends.
For seafood lovers ...
If you think that fish and seafood are incompatible with chocolate and cocoa, try making these dishes. Coquilles Saint-Jacques with rum and chocolate Ingredients (serves 4) 8 Coquilles Saint-Jacques 80 g dark chocolate 60/70% 2 knobs of butter Dark rum 1 1/2 carrots 1 orange Salt and fresh chilli Directions Marinate the Coquilles Saint-Jacques in a bowl with some dark rum for 45 minutes, wash and dry the shells which you will be using as a decoration when you serve up the dish. Thinly slice the carrots and the peel from the orange. Steam the carrots for a few minutes, and at the same time boil the orange peel. Sear the scallops on each side over a high flame in a pre-heated non-stick pan. Now get the melted chocolate ready: while you do this, place the scallops back in their shells and keep them warm in the oven. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie with the butter and half a glass of rum. Gently mix the orange and the carrots together in a bowl with half a glass of rum, and then get the shells ready for serving: pour a little melted chocolate over the base of the shells, place the scallops inside them, garnish with a forkful of the carrots and orange peel, season to taste and decorate with a touch of fresh chilli.
Serve with: Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene or Pinot Grigio
Salmon and potato cakes with cocoa cream Ingredients (serves 4) 400 g salmon fillet 150 g fresh ricotta 1 clove of garlic 50 g pine nuts 30 g bread crumbs Fresh chilli 1 tablespoon cocoa Milk to taste Extra virgin olive oil 500 g new potatoes
Directions Sauté the garlic in the oil and remove it once it has browned. Dice the salmon into quarter-inch cubes, add to the pan with a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes. Now transfer the salmon into a salad bowl along with the ricotta cheese, and then toss the mixture with a fork until the ingredients are perfectly mixed. Arrange the salmon onto four well-oiled aluminium baking trays. In a food processor, grind up the pine nuts, bread, salt and chilli to taste, a drop of oil and the cocoa. Boil the potatoes and, when cooked, drain and continue cooking over a low heat, adding a little milk at a time until it reaches a creamy custard consistency. Serve the dish, by upturning the salmon from the aluminium trays onto the plate with some potato, and pour a small amount of the cocoa sauce over it. Garnish with cocoa powder and a hint of fresh chilli.
Serve with: Mamertino di Milazzo Bianco Riserva Doc
Fillets of perch with chocolate sauce Ingredients (serves 4) 600 g perch fillets 150 g dark chocolate 1 small cup dark rum Extra virgin olive oil flour, salt and pepper
Directions Sauté the floured fish fillets in a low pan until golden brown on each side, add the rum and let it evaporate, then add salt and pepper. Place the fish on a serving dish and add two tablespoons of water to the pan, a shot of rum and the finely-grated chocolate. Once the mixture is uniform and has thickened enough, pour the sauce over the fish. Decorate the plates with mint leaves.
Serve with: Aglianico del Taburno Rosato Doc
If the fish is not your thing, prepare a couple of appetizers and round it off with that classic Italian dish: the risotto!
Mozzarella canapés with chocolate Ingredients (serves 4) Toast 1 block of pizza cheese 40 g dark chocolate
Directions Cut the mozzarella into thin slices and remove the crusts from the toast. Crush the chocolate with a knife and sprinkle over the canapés with the warm mozzarella.
Serve with: Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
Gorgonzola, pear and chocolate vol-au-vents Ingredients (serves 4) 8 vol-au-vents 200 g Gorgonzola 2 ripe pears 80 g dark chocolate Pepper
Directions Remove the Gorgonzola from the fridge half an hour before you begin. Peel the pears, cut them into small cubes, and then put them into a bowl with the Gorgonzola and mix well together with a pinch of pepper. Fill the vol-au-vents with the mixture. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, adding a little milk so it becomes neither too hot nor too liquid and pour it hot over the vol-au-vents.
Serve with: Moscato di Scanzo
Cocoa risotto Ingredients (serves 4) 320 g rice 1 knob of butter 1 tablespoon cocoa 4 tablespoons extra-thick cream Onion White wine Meat broth Parmesan cheese
Directions Sauté the onion with a knob of butter and add the rice, stirring gently until it has browned. Pour in half a glass of white wine and simmer until the wine is absorbed, then gradually add the beef stock until the rice has almost cooked. Add the cream mixed with cocoa and fold into the rice off the heat. Serve with a spoonful of grated Parmesan cheese per person.
Serve with: Grillo IGT Bianco
As dessert for both meals, we suggest fruit skewers with chocolate accompanied by a scoop of gelato.
Fruit skewers with chocolate Ingredients (serves 4) 200 g dark chocolate Strawberries Kiwis Bananas
Directions Wash the fruit, cut into small pieces and thread it onto the wooden skewers. Cut the chocolate up into pieces and melt it in a bain-marie. When the chocolate has completely melted, pour it over the skewers so that the fruit is completely covered, then place everything on a tray, cover it with aluminum foil and leave in the refrigerator until the chocolate has solidified. Serve the skewers on plates with a scoop of fior di latte gelato, custard or vanilla.
Serve with: Champagne
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