I love the first barbecue of year. Here are a few of my favourite recipes for grilling, indoors or out, so you can enjoys these dishes where ever you are in the world.
We kick off with super succulent spicy tiger prawns (cooked in the shells to help keep the flesh moist) with a lovely salty/sweet/sour salad with fresh mango – a throw back to my days in Australia where the mango season is a joy to behold.
Sausages are sausages are sausages, well no actually and these ones are a good quality pork variety from the butchers served with a homemade salsa rossa and a piquant mustard mayonnaise.
Aubergines are a great meaty alternative for a veggie burger. Here they take on a South American flavour with chimichurri sauce and wickedly delicious crispy fried onion rings.
No barbie would be complete without a good old steak, so add a Mexican twist with a spicy japeleno salsa.
If seafood is your thing, then you should definitely try barbecuing shellfish in either covered with foil in metal dishes or wrapped up in foil parcel . It’s a lovely way of keeping all those juices. Pared with chorizo they are really yummy.
Vietnamese sesame and soy prawns and mango salad
12 large raw prawns
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 mango, peeled and stoned
a handful fresh Thai basil, coriander and mint
125g grape cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tbsp salted cashews nuts, chopped
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1-2 small red chillies, thinly sliced and seeded if wished
Thai crispy fried shallots, to garnish
Prepare prawns. Using small scissors cut down the back of each prawn, through the shell and carefully pull out the dark vein and discard. Wash and pat dry. Place in a shallow dish. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and sesame oil, stir well to dissolve the sugar. Pour over prawns and set aside to marinate for 2 hours. Drain and pat dry.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the mango and cut into long thin strips or julienne. Thinly slice the cucumber and cut into julienne. Place in a bowl and add the herbs and cherry tomatoes.
Whisk together dressing ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
Thread the prawns onto bamboo skewers. Heat a barbecue or griddle pan until hot and cook the prawns for 2-3 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Toss the salad and dressing together adding the cashew nuts. Serve prawns and salad topped with crispy shallots.
Griddled sausages with salsa rossa
1 large red pepper
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
100g good quality mayonnaise
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
8 premium pork sausages
Heat the barbecue or griddle pan until hot and cook the pepper for about 10 minutes, turning from time to time until charred all over. Set aside for 5 minutes and then slice open catching any juices in a small saucepan.
Chop the pepper, discarding the seeds and add to the pan with the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, oregano and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered for 25-30 minutes until thickened and the liquid is evaporated. Puree until smooth.
Stir the mayonnaise and mustard together.
Cook the sausages on the griddle for about 10 minutes, turning until charred and cooked through. Serve with the sauces.
Aubergine burgers with chimichurri and crispy onions
2 medium aubergines, trimmed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onions
1 egg, beaten
100g dried breadcrumbs
4 burger buns
50g rocket leaves
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
125 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
a pinch dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper
Start by making the chimichurri sauce. Whiz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.
Thinly slice the onions into rings and place in a bowl. Cover with the milk and soak for 5 minutes.
Cut the aubergines horizontally into 3mm thick slices. Season the oil with salt and pepper and brush the slices with the seasoned oil. Heat the barbecue or griddle pan to high and once hot, grill the aubergine slices for 3-4 minutes each side until charred.
Drain the onion rings and dip firstly into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs to completely coat the rings. Heat 5cm vegetable oil in a wok until it reaches 180c on a sugar thermometer (or until a cube of bread crisps in 20 seconds). Deep-fry the onion rings for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
Slice rolls in half and char-grill until toasted. Fill rolls with aubergine slices, rocket leaves, onion rings, chimichurri sauce and aioli, if using.
Barbecued beef skirt with jalepeno salsa
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, crushed
grated zest 2 limes
1 tsp each salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
650g beef skirt steak
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ bunch coriander
2 jalepeno chilies, seed and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
juice 1 lime
¼ tsp caster sugar
cherry tomatoes, avocado and coriander
Place the rosemary, garlic, lime zest, salt, pepper and oil in a bowl and stir well to combine. Place the meat in a shallow dish, add the marinade, stir well and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Return to room temperature 1 hour before cooking.
Make the salsa just before you cook the meat to keep the lovely vibrant green colour. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, season to taste.
Preheat a barbecue or grill pan until hot, spray lightly with oil and add the meat. Cook for 3-5 minutes each side, depending on how well you like the meat cooked. Transfer to a board and rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the salsa and some cherry tomatoes, avocado and coriander leaves.
Clams and chorizo cooked on the griddle
1 kg small clams
150g chorizo, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
grated zest and juice 1 lemon
50ml white wine
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
beer, to serve
Soak the clams in clean water for 30 minutes, then rinse well and drain. Divide between 4 small metal dishes (or make foil parcels).
Add the chorizo, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and wine to the pans and seal each one under a sheet of foil (or wrap the foil up tightly forming a sealed parcel).
Heat the barbecue or griddle pan until hot, add the dishes or parcels and cook for 3-4 minutes until the clams have opened. Check one parcel to see. Scatter over the parsley and serve with beer.