Chocolate Special - Part III

Chocolate Special - Part III

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

Brioche with gelato
Brioche with gelato

Sliced open and filled with gelato, with cream, or even with both, the brioche with gelato is a typical Sicilian speciality which has recently been exported to the rest of Italy; it is becoming increasingly common to see gelato shops offering this delicacy, with regional variations such as croissants and buns or the truly Sicilian “tuppo” brioche.

Vegan gelato, the new trend of Italian gelato-making.
Vegan gelato, the new trend of Italian gelato-making.

The last SIGEP, the International Homemade Gelato, Pastry, and Bakery Fair, in Rimini, saw a trend among all of the major companies in the industry to offer products – and in some cases an entire product line – for vegans. 

Part 2 - Pasteurization and homogenization of italian gelato
Part 2 - Pasteurization and homogenization of italian gelato

After selecting, assaying and processing the raw materials with the other ingredients, the next stages in making hand-made gelato are pasteurization and homogenization.

How to select ingredients for your gelato
How to select ingredients for your gelato

Why do manufacturer of ingredients for gelato parlours offer such a wide range of different bases? As user requirements differ so widely, the products are designed to help the gelato-maker to get consistently balanced mixtures, for creamier, more scoopable gelato.

Part 3 -Maturation and Batch freezing of Italian gelato
Part 3 -Maturation and Batch freezing of Italian gelato

After pasteurization and homogenization, it is time for the mixture to undergo maturation and batch-freezing, which are crucial stages for a good hand-made gelato.

Investments, costs and revenues in opening a gelato shop
Investments, costs and revenues in opening a gelato shop

Over the course of time, Italian gelato has earned itself a reputation for continuous innovation in production methods, technologies and ingredients, often dictated by the needs of both practising and would-be gelato-makers.

Differences between artisan Italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream
Differences between artisan Italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream

Often the differences between italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream are not clear to everyone, even though in Italy the fact that there are so many gelato parlours as well as a history of hand-made gelato making would seem to facilitate this distinction.

How to make a good hand-made gelato
How to make a good hand-made gelato

Making gelato used to involve a machine known as a sorbetière, refrigerated using ice and salt, with the mix being batch frozen by hand using a long spatula-shaped stick. Luckily, things have changed quite a bit since then! 

The role of semi-finished products in gelato-making
The role of semi-finished products in gelato-making

Compound ingredients for gelato or semi-finished products are mixtures of ingredients in powder or paste that the gelato-maker keeps by his side when preparing mixtures (stabilization) and giving them flavor.

Selecting the gelato ingredients
Selecting the gelato ingredients

Choosing the right raw materials is a fundamental part of making outstanding hand-made gelato: the finest milk, eggs and sugar, and the best semi-finished ingredients and semi-finished products are a key component in the creativity of every craftsman.

Up Arrow