Blessed with long, warm days in WA it seems madness not to partake in a little alfresco eating. What better way to do it than with a classic Aussie Barbie? ‘Throwing another Shrimp’ has become a tongue-in-cheek part of our vernacular and for good reason. Hot grill plates are designed for absolute cooking simplicity and is just a matter of selecting your choice of meat, fish and veggies then cracking open an icy thirst quencher whilst the barbecue heats up.
Prawns, funnily enough, are a fantastic choice and delicious threaded onto rosemary skewers and doused with a little lemon juice and olive oil before serving. This method of skewering also works equally well for firm white-fleshed fish and vegetables like capsicum, mushroom and cherry tomatoes.
Marinades are a fantastic and easy way to add a distinctive touch to a barbecue. A home-made tandoori paste of lemon juice, garam masala, paprika, garlic and natural yoghurt is wonderful smothered on chicken prior to grilling. A little Dijon mustard and vinegar brushed on potatoes towards the end of cooking gives a tangy kick to an essential barbecue side.
Large flat mushrooms work really well marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and pepper then grilled gill side up, until cooked and garnished with a dollop of a soft white cheese such as goat’s, ricotta or buffalo mozzarella.
Alternatively get creative with a mix of your favourite nuts and herbs bound together with some chewy sundried tomatoes for a tasty filling.
Foil parcels filled with delicious vegetable treats are another fuss-free barbecuing option. A combination of tomato, black olives and cubed, cooked potato is lovely, as is a parcel of swiss brown and button mushrooms, butter and haloumi cheese. Simply seal and pop on the barbie until cooked to your liking. This is a particularly good option for vegetarians or fussy eaters – get them to create their own favourite combinations.
The best thing to accompany some aromatic grilling is a fresh, crunchy salad and what’s more, they’re one of the simplest of dishes to prepare. A classic green salad is enlivened by the addition of some toasted nuts and unusual salad varieties such as tatsoi and snowpea tendrils. A fantastic potato salad is an absolute staple of any barbecue – experiment with different flavours such as dill, mustard, bacon and cumin.
So go on… do what those pesky foreigners expect and throw another shrimp (or whatever you desire) on the barbie! Give the following variation of the classic burger pattie a go.
Greek lamb and Portabello mushroom burgers
Preparation 20 minutes; cooking 22 minutes; serves 4
- 400g Portabello mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 400g lamb mince
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 4 hamburger buns, split, toasted
- ½ cup tzatziki
- 2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, very thinly sliced
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Finely chop mushrooms by hand, or alternatively, pulse in a food processor until finely chopped or minced.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and spices. Sauté for five minutes or until softened. Add mushrooms, increase heat to high and cook for eight minutes or until moisture has evaporated. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Finely chop herbs. Add mince, egg, breadcrumbs and chopped herbs to mushroom mixture. Mix well to combine.
- Shape mixture into four patties (about nine cm diameter and two cm thick). Place onto a tray, cover and refrigerate for one hour if time permits (this helps hold patties together when cooking).
- Heat barbecue plate or a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add remaining oil. Add patties and cook, for five to six minutes on each side or until just cooked through.
- Serve with barbecue fare or create hamburgers with bread bun bases with tzatziki, top each with, tomato, pattie and cucumber. Sandwich together with burger top. Serve with lemon wedges.
Recipe for One: grilled peaches with vanilla ricotta
Preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 5 minutes; serves: 1
- 1 yellow peaches, halved and stones removed
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh ricotta cheese
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- Place peach on a grill tray cut side up, pour a little syrup over each peach and dot with a little butter. Cook under a hot grill until bubbling and heated through.
- Mix together ricotta, sugar and vanilla. Serve ricotta cream with the grilled peach halves.