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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12 Responses to TGRWT #15 – Hot chocolate salmon pancakes

  1. invaderxan says:

    Re: I’m trying this!
    It is rather interesting that the two work so well together, I must say. I don’t think the chocolate I used was unsweetened. It was just a regular bar of good quality dark chocolate. If you’re looking for some good chocolate to use, then I’d heartily recommend Green & Black’s. It’s good stuff!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m trying this!
    I’m writing a blog post about smoked salmon and jokingly referred to salmon and chocolate. Then I searched “salmon chocolate” and OMIGOSH I’m amazed there are recipes combining the two! Some are a little weird, but this one sounds downright interesting. Are we talking about unsweetened dark chocolate here or semi-sweet? Just gotta make sure everything is right before I try this one out. Thanks!

  3. invaderxan says:

    Haha… no problem. I like the word gloopy. It’s rather onomatopoeic! :)
    And I agree, it isn’t used enough. But then, most of the best words aren’t….

  4. underwr1tten says:

    I just wanted to thank you for using the word gloopy in a recipe. It is perfectly descriptive and not used nearly enough. :)

  5. invaderxan says:

    Mmmm… waffles.
    I must admit, I wasn’t sure about the fish/chocolate combo at first either, thought I think you’re right — the spices probably did help to unify the flavours nicely.
    Actually, it was also my first attempt at making anything resembling xocolatl. I should really try it again properly sometime! :D
    It’s quite surprising how many ways you can use chocolate, actually. It goes especially well with beef. I’ve made chocolate chilli con carne and chocolate meat loaf before. They were goood. :)

  6. helen99 says:

    We have a restaurant near us called Mosaic. They serve everything on a bed of waffles. It really is delicious, but I’ll bet these are even more so. I’m not sure about the combination of chocolate and fish. The use of Xocolatl (which we have a supply of in the cupboard at all times) may do the trick – the spice aspect helping the olive oil to tie the salmon and chocolate flavors together…
    would love this. He adores Xocolatl, and has often combined chocolate with salsa and other things.

  7. invaderxan says:

    It’s worth having a look at the past TGWRT pairings. Some of them are really good! Apple and lavender, for instance…
    Hadn’t heard of molecular gastronomy? Man, you should read up a bit more — it’s totally something you’d like!

  8. invaderxan says:

    Nah. :P
    Now, the bacon explosion — that’s scary.

  9. invaderxan says:

    Heheh…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this looks delicious, and I don’t even like salmon (except in sushi). It took me a while to figure out what site actually runs TGRWT, but eventually I did, and I’m impressed.
    I also hadn’t heard of molecular gastronomy before; interesting stuff. I’ll definitely participate next month.

  11. I will have to try this when the hubby isn’t around. ;)

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