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Barbecue - Barbecue

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks

Barbecue

The smoky scent of barbecued food is a pleasure we all enjoy. All you need is good food, a fierce grill, and sunshine. Choose your barbecue to suit your needs; coals can take time to heat up, whereas gas barbecues can be used in an instant. Preparing ahead is essential, so you have time to be attentive at the grill, and avoid food spoilage in the heat. Above all, it’s about enjoying simply cooked food.


Psst…

When marinating fish, meat, or vegetables, it is a good idea to prepare everything ahead, even the night before, and put it all in large plastic bags. It saves on space in the refrigerator, and you can squish the contents around so they can evenly marinate.


3 quick marinades

to add flavor and tenderize.


For meat: Szechuan pepper

This will give meat a deep spicy flavor. Mix together 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a splash of mirin, 1-2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns, and a pinch each of grated fresh ginger and grated garlic. Loosen with some olive oil, then use to coat beef or chicken. Leave to marinate overnight, then add some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper before grilling.


For fish: Lime and coriander

This is fresh and zesty, marinade is ideal for oily or non-oily fish. Mix together the juice of 2 limes, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 chopped limes, and a bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Coat the fish, then add to the barbecue. Don’t marinate for too long, or the lime juice will start to cook the fish.


For vegetables: Chilli and lemon

This will give vegetables a hot and zingy flavor. Mix together 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of 2–3 lemons, and add 2–3 sliced fresh hot red chiles, a pinch of sugar, and some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Coat the vegetables with the marinade before adding to the barbecue.


Barbecue preparation techniques

These two preparation methods, perfect for meat and fish, help flavors to penetrate, and speed up the cooking process.


Spatchcock

Flattening the bird ensures even cooking.

Lay a whole chicken, or other small poultry, on a board, breast-side down, and legs away from you. Using a knife or poultry shears, cut down either side of the backbone from tail to head.

Turn the chicken over, and press it firmly with the heel of your hand, to crush the breastbone. Once flattened, use a sharp knife to cut slits into the legs and thighs to ensure even cooking.


Scoring

This helps the marinade and seasoning penetrate the meat.

Make shallow incisions in one direction across the meat, about 1/2in (1cm) apart, using a sharp knife.

Cut shallow incisions n the other direction to form a criss-cross pattern. This helps ensure even cooking. Rub in your chosen marinade or flavorings, and leave to marinate for 1 hour, or overnight.


Skewer it

An ideal way to cook on the barbecue. Try vegetable skewers, too . If using wooden skewers, always soak them in water for 30 minutes before cooking, or they will burn.


Meat kebab

This is a good way to make meat go a long way.

All meats can be threaded onto a skewer. Cut the meat into equal-sized pieces, so it cooks evenly, and thread tightly. Marinate meat before threading, and skewer just the meat (such as lamb in a lemon and cumin marinade, beef in a wasabi marinade or chicken in a piri piri marinade), or mix meat with vegetables, making sure they are cut the same size as the meat. Good combinations: lamb and eggplant; pork and pineapple.


Fish kebab

Fish cooks through quickly on the grill, so these are super-speedy.

Choose firm, meaty fish, such as monkfish, as it will hold together better while it’s cooking. Cut into equal-sized pieces and marinate before threading. Choose one fish, and cook with a quick-cooking vegetable such as cherry tomatoes, red onion, or zucchini, or make a mixed fish kebab, choosing fish that will cook through at the same time, such as swordfish and tuna. Shrimp (with or without shell on) and scallops also skewer well.


Fruit kebab

A refreshing alternative to fruit salad. Try using lemongrass as skewers.

Choose firm, chunky fruit that will hold together. Fruits such as pineapple, apple, and banana work well, and can be brushed with a mix of fruit juice, rum, and brown sugar so they caramelize on the grill. They don’t need much cooking, and are best cooked on a clean barbecue, so they don’t pick up meat or fish flavors or bits. They can always be cooked first, and kept warm in the oven.


3 prepare-ahead salads

Barbecues always need salads to accompany the meat and fish, and refresh the palate. These can be prepared ahead and left in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to serve.


Tomato pasta salad

Simple, fresh, and super-quick if you have leftover pasta.

Cook 9oz (250g) farfalle in a pan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, and return to the pan. Make a cross at the bottom of 5 tomatoes, sit them in a bowl of boiling water for 30 seconds, transfer to a bowl of cold water, and remove the skin. Roughly chop, and add to the pasta with a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, a handful of fresh basil leaves, and 2 grated garlic cloves. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss with some extra virgin olive oil.


Moroccan couscous salad

An ideal partner for kebabs, chicken, and lamb.

Put 9oz (250g) couscous in a large bowl with enough hot vegetable stock to just cover. Leave for 5 minutes, then fluff up with a fork. Cook 2 chopped zucchini in a little olive oil until golden, then add to the couscous with a good pinch of paprika, the juice of 2 lemons, a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, and a handful of chopped olives. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to combine.


Curried rice salad

Perfect with barbecued lamb, and fish kebabs.

Put 6oz ( 175g) cold cooked rice in a large bowl with 1/2 a red cabbage, shredded, 1 teaspoon of medium curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons of mixed dried fruit, a handful of radishes, chopped, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and combine.


The vegetarian barbecue

Delicious ideas for non-meat eaters.

Make vegetable skewers using a combination of vegetables , adding a non-melting cheese such as halloumi or paneer. If you want to be more adventurous, coat them with yogurt and tikka paste, and add some ripe figs.

Marinate vegetables with punchy flavors: mix with fresh herbs such as mint, dill, cilantro, basil, or thyme, with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest, lime, or orange. Experiment with flavors: try squash with lime and cinnamon, or zucchini with lemon and allspice.

Cook sweet potatoes in foil, then top with spicy tomato and avocado salsa and sour cream, or slice squash (skin on) into rounds, and cook coated in a chili oil.

Large mushrooms are ideal for the barbecue. Remove the stem, and coat with a spicy teriyaki marinade. Cook until golden, then serve sliced with hot grilled pita bread, and a dollop of hummus.

Make spicy chile mushroom burgers, or cheesy vegetarian sausages, and serve in rolls with home-made coleslaw.

Grill feta cheese parcels and cubes of squash, and serve with balsamic grilled tomatoes and shallots.

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