Bread and chocolate. Quite possibly one of the best combinations in existence. Jacques Pepin once said that his favorite childhood snack was a piece of baguette and some dark chocolate. I'd have to concur.
I love dessert. Too bad I can't really cook it. Woe to any recipe developer, writer, tester, who has spent countless hours on a pastry, confection, etc. only to have its written contents pass into my hands. But these crostini are fool-proof. With a little help from some good salt and the best extra-virgin olive oil (you know, the kind you were crazy enough to spend THAT MUCH on), bread and chocolate become ethereal.
Olive oil and chocolate? It's not so insane. I don't think there's really an official recipe out there in existence for these crostini. (Which may be why I can swing it.) Though, I've encountered them on tables and in conversation often. My friend Steven said he sampled these while eating his way through Spain, which I think is where it most likely originated.
The idea is simple. Thinly slice a baguette. Brush the slices lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and place a square of chocolate on top. Put the whole lot (assuming you put the crostini on a baking sheet) into a warm oven. One night I served these after a cider-braised pork shoulder. The oven was still warm (but off) when I put the tray in. Timed it for about 5 minutes, just until the chocolate started to get glossy, but not lose its shape. But if you're starting without a warm oven, preheat the thing to about 250-degrees. And then turn the oven off when you put the crostini in.
The final touch is a sprinkling of some coarse salt, like fleur de sel. If you're really hard pressed, kosher flakes work, too, but admittedly aren't as pretty. But if you have fun salt lying around, like say a Balinese coarse salt in the shape of prisms, the crunch makes a delightful experience.
The olive oil can be fruity, smooth, peppery, whatever you've got stashed away. The point being that it be extra-virgin, first-pressing. No diluted goodness, please. I've used Tuscan, Spanish, and Californinan, and they all lend themselves well to the chocolate. Of course, I'll plea for you to invest in some good dark chocolate. But milk would work, too, if you must. All I ask is that if you replicate these, you promise to use the best chocolate you can. The shape of the pieces kind of matter—they have to fit on the bread, after all. But you cut/break in any manner you need. Thickness is more a concern. Bars of Bernard Castelain, Santander, El Rey, and Scharffen Berger are thin enough to provide the right chocolate to bread ratio, not to mention the great texture of silky melted chocolate. Otherwise, you might risk chunky chocolate on bread. Still good, I'm sure, but not as special.
To eat these, there's no point in being dainty. Consider it in the realm of nigiri sushi and just pick it up and pop it into your mouth to savor in one go. The chocolate and olive oil together on the tongue perk up each other's fruity characteristics. The salt adds a really nice crunch and flavor. And then there's the chewy crusty bread to carry it all.
I serve two per person for polite company. Though I've been known to consume an entire tray...