The basic idea behind this recipe is not new; according to Ferran Adrià, widely considered to be one of the best – and most imaginative – chefs in the world, toasted bread with chocolate melted on the top is a favorite after-school snack of Spanish children. At his celebrated restaurant, El Bulli (now closed), he created an adult version of this childhood snack, drizzling it with extra virgin olive oil and topping it with sea salt.
A quick internet search will turn up dozens of near-identical variations of Adrià’s original recipe. Most tend to go heavy on the chocolate. We decided to go in a different direction altogether by adding an intriguing ingredient to the mix – black garlic.
Black garlic is nothing like any garlic you’ve ever had before. It’s not a new dark-colored variety of garlic – and it’s definitely not genetically engineered. Black garlic is produced by a special, lengthy fermentation process that begins with whole heads of ordinary garlic, transforming them into something new and altogether unexpected.
Originally a traditional Asian herbal health tonic, black garlic has been embraced by the Western world as an exciting culinary ingredient. Black garlic is dark ebony black in color, and has a soft, almost jam-like texture with a deep, dark mysterious taste. The long, slow fermentation process yields a sweetly delicate and mild garlic flavor with complex notes of fennel, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
We also decided to use chocolate liquor instead of bittersweet chocolate. Chocolate liquor isn’t an alcoholic drink; it’s simply finely ground roasted cocoa bean, the basis for all edible chocolate. With no added sugar, it’s definitely not sweet and is more of a seasoning or spice than a confection – and it is a wonderful complement to the deep, rich flavor of black garlic.
Another thing – don’t skimp on the olive oil. Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil and apply it with a free hand. The fruity flavor of a good olive oil is the perfect bridge that links the chocolate and black garlic. Lastly, top it all off with a few crisp flakes of sea salt to bring out every bit of marvelous flavor.
Think of this dish as a subtle, sophisticated spin on garlic bread – with a few surprising twists of complex, satisfying flavor.
Toasted Bread With Chocolate, Olive Oil & Black Garlic
- 6 thick slices country-style bread
- 2 oz chocolate liquor or bittersweet chocolate (at least 60%), coarsely grated.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 – 8 cloves black garlic
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Peel the black garlic and slice thinly.
Pre-heat the broiler of the oven. Put the bread on a baking sheet and put it into the oven, flipping to toast it until just golden brown on both sides. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t get too dark – it only takes a few seconds per side.
Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the toast in an even layer while it’s still warm. Distribute the sliced black garlic evenly over the bread slices.
Drizzle the chocolate-covered toast generously with the olive oil and return to the oven for a few seconds to melt the chocolate completely. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Note: This preparation can also be prepared using baguette rounds for bite-sized serving pieces.
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