TGRWT #15 – Hot chocolate salmon pancakes

I’ve been neglecting my molecular gastronomy a bit lately, so when I saw that They Go Really Well Together #15 was up at Mex Mix, I thought — yeah, why not?

For anyone who doesn’t know, TGRWT (They Go Really Well Together) is a monthly challenge to food bloggers. Two ingredients are announced which pair well together thanks to a few shared flavour compounds. This month’s oddball coupling is smoked salmon and dark chocolate. Which, I must admit, sounds bizarre even for a pair of TGRWT ingredients.

Sure enough, the food pairing website lists various chocolates as fitting with salmon. So after hunting for some suitable ingredients, and seeing as it is (was) Shrove Tuesday, I came up with this…

Hot chocolate salmon pancakes

Chocolate Sauce

  • 100g bar of chocolate (70% cocoa solids, from Ghana)
  • 1 tsp crushed chillis
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika

Pancake batter

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp (heaped) Plain flour (wheat)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 splash water
  • 100g sliced smoked salmon (scottish)
  • 1 handful fresh corriander (finely chopped)
  • Olive oil (extra virgin)
  1. To make the batter, just crack the eggs into a large jug and beat them with a balloon whisk until smooth. Add the coconut milk (you may want to warm it to make it less gloopy), and beat in the flour and a splash of water to keep the mixture runny enough. The water will also help the eggs to emulsify as you continue to whisk the mixture. Try to get it light and fluffy. Coconut should go well with the dark chocolate. Alternatively, you could use soya milk, which would pair with the salmon. Leave the batter to stand for a while, and prepare the chocolate sauce next.
  2. Break up the chocolate into pieces and place into a small saucepan. Warm this gently over a very low heat till all the chocolate melts (be careful not to let it burn). Stir in the spices and then slowly stir in about 5-7 tablespoons of water. The end result should be thick, but shouldn’t set as it cools. Chocolate and spices are a time honoured pairing, going back as far as the Aztec drink xocolatl (which is where the name “chocolate” came from). If I’d had any, I’d probably have thrown in a teaspoon of red peppercorns too.
  3. Now the fun part — time to fry the pancakes. Use olive oil for this. It has a low smoke point, so it isn’t ideal for frying with, but the flavour it gives to the pancakes will match both the chocolate and the salmon. The mixture should make about 6-8 large pancakes. They’ll be a bit thicker than regular pancakes too, thanks to the coconut milk.
  4. Finally, Take each pancake and lay out a thin layer of smoked salmon on one half of it. Drizzle this with the chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of chopped corriander. Fold into half and garnish with a little more corriander. Voila!

This was absolutely delicious! The flavours combine nicely and nothing seems out of place. The chocolate and salmon combine nicely, with the spices in the chocolate leaving a warm glow in your mouth as you eat. The corriander in turn, adds just a little bit of citrussy sharpness which complements the overall flavour nicely. Just be careful with the chocolate sauce. Too much will drown out the flavour of the salmon, and being high in cocoa solids makes it extremely rich!

Overall a success! I’m quite surprised at how well salmon goes with dark chocolate — though if white chocolate and caviar can work well, why not? I haven’t had a chance to properly look for the flavour compounds the two share though (and I really should). It would be interesting to see what else might go well here. The next time I have salmon on toast for breakfast, I might just grate a little chocolate over it instead of black pepper…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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