Lasagne is a great dish but if the balance is wrong it can taste a bit lacklustre. However there are two ‘secret’ ingredients that when added to a classic beef Lasagne will produce a dish that looks the same as lasagne always has, but will create a wonderful taste explosion in the mouth. These ingredients are fish and chocolate.
Fish and chocolate! Are you serious?
Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but let me explain. For generations, people have been pepping up meat dishes with good old Worcestershire sauce. A few drops from the orange bottle is all it takes to lift pretty much any meat dish. In the 1970s my mother used to add it to lasagne and it tasted good. Now the key ingredient of Worcestershire sauce is anchovy essence. So as an experiment Nicola did a lasagne as normal and added two finely chopped teaspoons of anchovies directly into the dish.
The result was an instant sensation. The salty fishy flavours went incredibly well with the rest of the ingredients to produce the most memorable Lasagne any of us had eaten. We were scraping every last bit out of the dish and howling for more.
I didn’t believe this ‘lasagne plus’ recipe could ever be bettered, but while at a friends house we tasted chilli with chocolate (another amazing combination) and again the cogs were set in motion.
Now when making the tomato ragu for the lasagne, a single teaspoon of extra dark chocolate is melted into the tomatoes to provide a richness and body that really makes it sing. In other dishes this tomato chocolate combination may prove a step too far for some palettes, but in lasagne, it works.
So next time, try your regular lasagne recipe with just two teaspoons of anchovy and one teaspoon of bitter dark chocolate added and see what a taste sensation you will have created in your own kitchen.