Salted caramels in a gilded box, French salted butter on a fresh baguette, Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kettle Chips, with a very large glass of wine....it's fair to say we have a sodium situation going on at J&L. This humble condiment can not only bring another dimension to savoury dishes but will transform your desserts too. Add to that the wonderful texture that you only get from an undissolved crystal of salt in a dish and we are onto a sure winner.
We are not the first to cotton on to it's modest charms (damn it). A recent trip to the Pig near Bath, staying in their kitchen garden hideaway (we never wanted to leave), proved that chocolate is salt's obvious bed fellow. We tried their mousse with sea salt - purely for research purposes you understand - and selflessly asked if we could smuggle an additional jar home just to double check it was as phenomenal as we thought. We scoffed it on the train. It was.
As if that hadn't confirmed the connection for us, our old favourite haunt Morito, in North London -who never get it wrong - showed us that another killer combination was adding olive oil & Hazelnuts into the mix.
We thought the best time to rustle up this recipe was whilst our days are still filled with windswept waits at the bustop. It tasted just right at the Pig sat in front of an open fire, but if like us you don't have one of those, crank the heating up and indulge on the sofa.
Sea salt and Olive oil Chocolate Mousse
(NB Make sure you use good quality sea salt flakes, like Maldon (table salt has no place here!)
200g plain chocolate (at least 70%, broken into pieces)
80g caster sugar
5 large eggs separated (you will use 5 yolks and 3 whites)
100ml good quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
Sea salt (see note above) to serve
Optional extras: Add brandy for a bit of a boozy kick. For a nutty top try toasted pecans or hazelnuts (a la Morito).
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a simmering pan of water, making sure the bowl and the water do no touch. Once completely melted set aside to cool.
- Add 5 egg yolks and a about a third of the sugar to the chocolate, stir slowly, the mixture will really thicken at this point.
- Add a pinch of salt to 3 egg whites and whisk until forming thick peaks
- Add the remaining sugar gradually, whisking until glossy
- Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture a spoonful at a time (for the first few spoonfuls we had to stir to loosen the mixture)
- Once combined, divide the mixture into 6 glass jars and put in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- If you are preparing these in advance take out the fridge about 30 minutes before serving, you don't want them to be too firm.
- Serve with a pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of oil