Haute Cuisine: Savory Recipes
| Written by: Tiny House Chocolate
As versatile as it gets: how to use chocolate and cacao in haute cuisine savory dishes.
If you think that chocolate is only the leading role of tempting snacks and indulgent desserts, think again! Chocolate admits boldness in gastronomy and does not need to be used as an ingredient only in sweet dishes. In the savory, it can do a brilliant supporting act for unusual combinations. When incorporated in small quantities, chocolate adds silkiness and complexity to a myriad of savory preparations of haute cuisine.
Before instigating your taste, let’s think about the concept of haute cuisine. This name comes from the notion of gastronomy as art, with a visually beautiful and harmonious elaboration, which uses traditional and contemporary techniques, and ingredients with the highest level of quality possible.
When you buy a bean to bar, you have in your hands an exclusive product, free of additives, with natural sweeteners in place of refined sugar and that results in an always unique surprise and flavor, depending on the origin, the region, the drying process, and climate, among other characteristics.
A study about “The neuroprotective effects of cacao flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance”, published iHigh quality chocolate is very versatile and easy to work with, so it is not that difficult to combine the ingredient to savory dishes. The mixture is usually successful even among those who are not fans of chocolate – if that is possible. Who would think meat would go so well with the world’s most popular sweet? In Mexico, for example, chocolate is the basis of poblano mole, one of the most traditional sauces. Along with 20 other ingredients used in the classic preparation, it becomes the perfect accompaniment to a cooked chicken.
In haute cuisine, chocolate is used in preparations that enhance its flavor, in sauces, and in other combinations. Perfect matches happen with peppers of the most diverse varieties, herbs, mushrooms, and meats, such as beef filet mignon, pork cuts, such as sirloin and ribs, and even bacon. It is also recommended to use chocolate above 60% cacao, so the dish is not too sweet, and to not mix it with spices that are too strong, as the flavor of cacao is already accentuated.
From a simple cod fillet to a mille-feuille rich in flavor, these two haute cuisine recipes will make you see (and taste!) chocolate and cacao from a whole new perspective!
Cod Fillets with a Cacao Nib Crust
In the book “Chocolat: From the Cocoa Bean to the Chocolate Bar”, the Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini presents more than 170 recipes with chocolate/cacao. Among them, there is a recipe of Cod Fillets with a Cacao Nib Crust, simple and delicious!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 7 minutes
2 oz. (50g) Tiny House Chocolate cacao nibs
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
Freshly ground Sarawak pepper
Fleur de sel
1 lb. (500 g) fillet of cod, preferably the loin
4 leaves bear’s garlic to serve
Preheat a steam oven to 320oF (160oC) and set the moisture to 25 percent. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the coating: combine the cacao nibs, orange and lemon zest, pepper, and fleur de sel in a small bowl. Place the cod fillet on the prepared baking sheet and spread the coating over it.
Cook for 7 minutes.
Place a leaf of bear’s garlic on each plate and set a portion of cod over it.
Dark Chocolate and Wild Mushroom Mille-Feuille
This savory mille-feuille recipe from the British chocolatier Paul A. Young shows off the versatility of chocolate as an ingredient. Do not fear – the chocolate isn’t sweet, it just gives a wonderfully rich depth of flavor to match the earthy mushrooms in this dish.
400 g of puff pastry
1 egg yolk, for glazing
150 g of shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp of rosemary leaves, finely chopped
100 g of oyster mushrooms
75 g of chestnut mushrooms
50 g of girolles
50 g of cep mushrooms
50 ml of Madeira
200 ml of whipping cream
75 g of Pará Brazil 85% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp of olive oil
15 g of chives, cut into 5 cm pieces
1 tsp rosemary leaves
To start the dish, roll out the puff pastry until it is 5mm in thickness. Cut the sheet into 4 rectangles, measuring 7.5 x 12.5 cm, place onto a baking tray, and brush with egg yolk. Leave uncovered in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Bake the pastry sheets for 15 minutes in the oven until nicely puffed up and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Add the oil to a pan and set over low heat. When hot, add the shallots, garlic, and rosemary and cook gently until the shallots are translucent and soft.
Increase the heat to medium and add the mushrooms, stirring to lightly cook. Pour in the Madeira, season, and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
Pour the cream into another saucepan and bring to the simmer, then add the chocolate and whisk well until melted.
To assemble the dish, carefully make 2 horizontal cuts through each puff pastry sheet so you have 3 thin layers per sheet, allowing you to form 5 or 6 layers for each mille-feuille.
Lay the bottom sheet on a plate, then spoon over some of the mushroom filling. Pour over some chocolate sauce, then lay the second pastry sheet on top. Add more mushrooms, then sauce, and another sheet of pastry, until you have 5–6 layers. Repeat with the second plate.
Spoon some sauce around the plates and scatter some chives over the mille-feuille. Finish with a dash of olive oil and some rosemary leaves.