When Bread, Chocolate, Olive Oil and Salt Had A 4-Way

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Of all the recipes in Amanda Hesser’s “Cooking For Mr. Latte,” the one I most wanted to try but the one I never–for whatever reason–attempted was her toasts with chocolate, olive oil and salt. This peculiar mix of flavors baffled me on the page, how would it taste hot out of my oven?

The recipe is simple. Cut up a baguette into thin slices. Put the slices on a cookie sheet. Top with bite-size pieces of bittersweet chocolate and put in a 350 oven (I think it’s 350, you should double check that) until the chocolate melts but still holds its shape. At that point, take it out, drizzle each piece with olive oil and top with salt.

So how did it taste? The quick answer: HOT! I burned the roof of my mouth on the first bite I had and I was still feeling the pain a few days later. So definitely let it cool for a few minutes.

After it cooled, though, I really appreciated the strange alchemy at work here: four things that you wouldn’t expect to go together not only go together here, they create something entirely new and enjoyable. You have the crispness of the toast, the richness of the chocolate, the greenness of the olive oil and the brightness of the salt. These four powers come together to make a snack no one can defeat, like that gang of superheros I used to watch on TV after school.

So if you have bread, chocolate, olive oil and salt lying around, why not give this a try? Your palate will thank you as long as you don’t burn it.

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11 comments

  1. Salt hightens the sweetness in foods; the olive oil probably would add to the unctuousness of the chocolate, so yeah, I could see that they would work great against the crunchy dryness of the bread.

  2. as hard as I try to like it, I just can’t handle any bread/chocolate combination at all, ever. Just the thought of it makes me nauseous. Even a chocolate croissant is out of the question chez sam.

    But eating a loaf of bread followed after by a pound of chocolate is no problem at all though, even if was required that both courses be dipped in salt and olive oil.

    Salt and olive oil with my choccy doesn’t freak me out in the slightest, but bread certainly does.

    ps the only way to eat nutella is with a spoon from a jar.

  3. My mother used to make a snack of saltine cracker topped with a piece of cheddar cheese and then a marshmellow on top-put it under a broiler until marshmellow is brown and fluffy. Avoid burning the roof of your mouth as marshmellow is a little like lava underneath its crust-but there is something about the combination of sweet and salt that is particularly satisfying.

  4. I remember reading once in an M.F.K. Fischer piece about an older gentleman in Europe giving her bittersweet chocolate to eat with a piece of bread on a cold day in the mountains. She described it as strangely wonderful and after reading that piece, I have often enjoyed the combination myself, although never with olive oil and salt. I don’t remember which of her books that passage was from but maybe you’ll run across it in future readings.

  5. You know, I had the same thought when reading Mr. Latte–I had to try that chocolate-bread-salt-oil thing. However, my results weren’t nearly as good…..we didn’t like it. A dinner party of 10 tasted, but no one (including me) liked them.

    I used good bread, excellent chocolate, flake salt, and expensive olive oil and still, no dice. Alas. I’m glad your experiment went better than mine.

  6. At the Fancy Food Show there were these imported olive oils that were infused with different unusual flavors like coffee and chocolate. I’m thinking one of those would add even more tasty dimension! Sorry, I can’t remember the brand name.

  7. Did you or anyone in your party eat the wonderful and bizarre chocolate/olive oil/baguette/salt dessert at Le Bernardin? I’ve been looking for an excuse to combine those ingredients in my apartment, and now I have one!

  8. I just found this recipe and tried it tonight. It was so good! All four of us that had it loved it (although, I used extra virgin olive oil and really didn’t notice it there). It was especially good with ruby port.