Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Burn, Baby, Burn - It's a Barby Inferno!

(Apologies to fans of The Tramps)

I have mentioned that it was my mum's birthday the other week. My dad just sent me this picture of me barbecuing for the family... (That's my concerned looking mother, left, and aunt in the background.)

[My first tip for BBQing is get the coals well lit in advance so that they have died down to an intense glow without any flames.]

Well - those greasy Spanish sausages soon put an end to my BBQ best practice demonstration. They were good though - a kind of chorizo with a mild aniseed flavour.

Here are a couple of favourite barbecue accompaniments:

White Bean, Orange and Bacon Salad (Serves 6 approximately)

Open a large tin or jar of haricot beans (experience shows that the ones in jars tend to be better quality - larger and less mushy) - drain and rinse the beans and allow them to drain.

Fry a finely chopped onion with a handful of lardons (bacon cubes) and the grated zest of an orange. Allow the onion to brown slightly and the bacon to crisp a little around the edges.

Then chuck in a about half a cup of chopped fresh sage and squeeze in the orange's juice. Turn the heat to high for a few seconds and let the orange juice de-glaze the pan and the sage to wilt but not cook. Then turn the heat off.

Toss the beans with the orange/bacon bits, dress with a drizzle of olive oil and taste - season accordingly and add white wine or cider vinegar or lemon juice if you think the salad needs a little edge.


Try white beans, onion, rosemary and lemon. Or the same with flageolet beans.

Rosemary Potatoes

(Great with old or new potatoes)

Clean but do not peal sufficient potatoes for the number of guests expected then add a few more as these are very more-ish. If they're small (egg-sived), reckonn on 2-3 halves each. If their bigger then you can reduce the quantity accordingly.

Halve the potatoes longways (make a mental note of the quantity). Put them in a bowl, add a spoonful or two of water, cover them with cling film and microwave for a few minutes until they start to soften. (If you are preparing quite a few, they may need to be redistributed in the bowl to ensure even cooking, but take care at this time not to break the spuds as they need to keep their form. Note - We find that the microwave damages the potatoes less than boiling.)

While the potatoes are par-boiling in the microwave, nip out to the garden and pick a rosemary tip for each potato half - each a couple of centimetres long for little spuds, a little longer for bigger ones.

When the spuds are soft to a sharp knife, drain them. Oil a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil.

Place a rosemary tip on the baking tray and put a potato half, cut-side down on top of the rosemary. Repeat for the other potato halves. Drizzle (or brush) their backs with a little more oil.

When the barbecue is going - hot coals, flames died down (see above) - before cooking the meat, put the tray of potatoes on the barbecue to cook. After 5 minutes, check the potatoes - as they cook, they press the rosemary flat onto their faces. When they are nicely golden, browned around the edges and the rosemary is good and flat (it'll turn very dark - almost black), remove them from the heat. If you are doing a lot, then do the next batch at this point. To finish the potatoes put them skin side down directly onto the barbecue grill, to cook their skin and get that char-grilled stripey effect. You can do this while cooking the meat, or beforehand if you think they'll get torched by the Spanish sausage inferno! If so keep them wrapped in foil to keep them warm.

Serve them face up on a platter with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

[I'll try to remeber to photograph these recipes next time we do them.]

No comments:

Post a Comment