Budge over burgers – the grill has other fish to fry
Nothing says ‘summer’ like brandishing food with griddle marks, but a selection of meat alongside the occasional corn on the cob needn’t be the only things sporting them this summer.
From soft fruits to kale, these edible treats may mean that you turn your back on your kitchen altogether this summer. Dip into our simple ideas and nifty tricks below to get started.
Rub a little olive oil into the cut side of some halved and destoned peaches before placing them directly on the grill. When they’ve got their marks, serve to a crowd alongside a big bowl of mascarpone drizzled with honey and let everyone dip the peaches.
For an easy-as-they-come way to cook fruit on the barbecue, look no further than the mighty banana. For an indulgent pudding, make a long deep incision down the inner curve of the banana (making sure not to pierce the skin on the outer curve). Stuff this incision with chopped-up chocolate, mini marshmallows and a little golden syrup, then create a well-sealed foil tent (one per banana) and place on the heat. When soft and melted, eat it directly out of the foil with a blob of ice cream.
Make a handheld desert by cutting a pineapple into chunky fingers and inserting a water-soaked kebab stick into each one. Dip each into a cinnamon and sugar mix before placing on the barbecue for a tart, sticky treat.
Make sure these early summertime veg are thoroughly rubbed with oil before placing them on the barbecue. Once they’ve coloured and slightly wrinkled, simply dip them in hollandaise, or let them cool and toss them in a green salad with shaved parmesan, watercress and lots of lemon.
These are especially easy as they can be cooked in the shells they come in; all you need to do is add a couple of flavourings to the mix. A glug of oil, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of Indian spices, seasoning and some chopped coriander would do it.
Making a batch of popcorn is a particularly good way to kick off an outdoor gathering, as you’ll be harnessing that initial bout of high heat that comes before a barbecue settles to a temperature better suited to most meats and other ingredients.
Place a handful of kernels and a little oil on to a piece of foil, then fold this in half and seal all three edges by folding several times. Place this ‘envelope’ on to a barbecue and wait for the popping to begin…
7. Kale chips
Whole leaf versions of these delicious and nutritious snacks are more practical than their smaller leaf alternatives because they won’t slip through the griddle. To make some, add a teaspoon of tahini to the juice of a lemon, sea salt, paprika and a glug of oil (and possibly 1 tsp of water, depending on consistency).
Separate the leaves from a head of kale and massage the paste into the leaves thoroughly. Place on a shelf above the grill if that’s an option – kale benefits from a gentle drying heat.
Several varieties will do. Start with a simple roti, rolled thin so as to reduce cooking time. Short bursts of high heat are ideal for bread, so throw them on when the flames are licking.