Monday, 28 July 2014

Barbecued side-dishes

... or "grilled" as some Americans insist.

Paul has braaing in his blood; he starts to get twitchy if the weather is nice and he hasn't lit a fire, and his consumption of grilled lamb chops is second to none. But even he admits that man cannot live on meat alone. This summer we've been barbecuing a lot of meat, of course, but we've also been exploring the other stuff you can cook over charcoal.

I've already showed you the potato dish (which Paul has been asking me to repeat and I have been resisting for the sake of our waistlines), and flatbreads cooked in a skillet, but we've been doing a lot of vegetables and started looking at other baking.

All these ideas are probably quite familiar to people who camp, but I don't, so I think we've been very clever!

We've been taking advantage of natural containers to put delicious things in.

 This butternut filled with  garlic, cream and dried porcini mushrooms is based on a Diana Henry recipe from Roast Figs Sugar Snow.

Peppers Piedmontese, the classic roasted pepper filled with garlic, anchovy, basil and tomatoes are brilliant barbecued, but we've been putting other fillings in our peppers as well.
A sort of Greek-inspired version, filled with feta, olives, capers and oregano was very delicious, but needs quite a long cook to melt the feta.
And a version filled with tomato, basil and mozzarella salad was also very good, but not quite as good as Elizabeth David/Delia Smith/Simon Hopkinson's original.

We've also been using the barbecue to cook vegetables for warm salads.
For this one, I made a herbed fat-free yoghurt dressing with big handfuls of basil, coriander and chives. I added some marinated artichoke hearts and a bag of washed lambs lettuce, then added chopped barbecued courgettes and peppers while the meat rested.

But this weekend Paul announced that his ambition was to make bread on the fire.
I mostly followed this recipe for skillet cornbread, adding snipped chives and cooking it with the barbecue lid down (which was fine, because it was alongside a rolled lamb breast that needed a long cook). I think the dough was a little thick and should have been more like a batter, although it ended up rising quite well. The bottom layer, where it had sizzled in the melted butter, was particularly delicious.
We still had quite a lot of cornbread leftover, so the next night I decided to make a panzanella sort of salad after seeing Joanne's cornbread panzanella. Using my new favourite toy, the Eat Your Books membership I won from Kavey Eats, I identified a number of panzanella recipes on my bookshelf. And then made something else. Another Diana Henry recipe, this one from Food from Plenty.

This was a Spanish bread and tomato salad, where the stale bread is soaked in milk then fried in olive oil, and mixed with tomatoes, basil, capers and anchovies. I didn't have enough tomatoes, so I added a roasted, peeled and sliced red pepper. And I added a sliced shallot because we do like a bit of allium in our salads. We had some beautiful silver smoked anchovies, so I used those. Our basil plant is very productive at the moment, so I didn't stint. It's a fantastic salad - I suspect there will be almost as many anchovy nay-sayers as the eel-rejectors who came out of the woodwork over my recent sandwich, but they are really good in this! I suppose you could use olives instead, if you wanted it to be vegetarian.

1 comment:

grace said...

i love using nature's bowls! and your cornbread looks pretty great--at least there's a visible crust, which sadly isn't always the case!


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