Chocolate and smoked salmon in the same dish, that is the challenge for the blogging event TGRWT #15 being hosted by Roberto from Mex Mix. The idea of TGRWT is to create a dish using two ingredients that share aromas. Regularly, Martin from Khymos challenges us with a new combination.
The last time I tried pairing chocolate with something savory was for the TGRWT #5 and I had a really hard time coming up with Koko Kibe. This time I decided to use the chocolate as a condiment and not as a main ingredient. At home we sometimes make a salad of smoked salmon, cucumber, and watercress. To accompany it, I created a chocolate-based dressing. The dressing mixes ingredients that pairwise are eaten together: balsamic vinegar, strawberries, chocolate, and walnuts. The dressing turned out dish-liking good and it went well with the salad. On my scale of A through C (C is edible, B, family will eat, A, can serve to outsiders) it gets an A. The problem with the dish is that the salmon is not as prominent nor as integrated as I would have liked it.
Smoked salmon with chocolate dressing
The smoked salmon, cucumber, and watercress salad has been popular since the 1800s. Charles Senn, a prolific cookbook writer and editor of the London Food and Cookery included Lax Ã l’huile aux concombres in his 1894 cookbook and instructed us to decorate the dish with watercress.
The watercress could be replaced by another bitter green such as spinach or arugula. For the chocolate I used dark sweet Callebaut (54%) and the balsamic vinegar was an inexpensive type. The Granny Smith is a tart green-peel apple.
- 1 hothouse cucumbers
- 1 Granny Smith Apple
- 225 grams of smoked salmon
- 1 bunch watercress
- Half a lime
and for the dressing
- 2 large strawberries
- 12g of chocolate
- 1 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of walnut oil
- Wash the cucumber well. Place it on a cutting board and run a peeler once over the top of the cucumber removing one strip of the peel. Discard it. After that use the peeler to cut the cucumber into thin slices. Go down about a third, and turn the cucumber upside down and repeat with the other side. After that rotate and slice the sides. Discard the core (or feed the chef). If the slices are wet, dry them with a paper towel.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apple. Squeeze half a lime into a bowl, add about a teaspoon of water and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and place the apple slices in the bowl. Using your finger tips coat the slices with the mixture.
Thinly slice the salmon (the brand I buy comes sliced) and cut the slices into strips about the size of the apple slices.
Remove stems from watercress. Wash and dry leaves.
Distribute the cucumber slices and watercress to four quarter plates. Shake off excess liquid from the apple slices and mix with cucumber and watercress. Place the salmon over the vegetable bed.
In an oven proof measuring cup place the chocolate and a teaspoon of water. Melt the chocolate by microwaving the chocolate and water for 15 seconds or less. Remove from microwave oven and mix in the walnut oil with a small whisk.
In the small bowl of a food processor place the two strawberries, the oil and chocolate mixture, and the vinegar. Process until smooth. Serve the dressing in small cups with the salad.
I have to double the recipe for the dressing when serving individual portions or it looks too little in the cups. If you are mixing the salad ingredients and the salad dressing before serving, use a bit less than the full amount given in the recipe.