I’m going to be honest here – I’m a bit sick of sausages already. This is the first time in a long time that we’ve had our own outdoor space complete with slightly rusty looking barbeque and let’s just say the sausage consumption has been off the scale in the last week. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining about the weather (although give me a few weeks – I am British after all) and there’s nothing better than a barbeque dinner at short notice, but then the problem with the short notice thing is that all you end up chucking on the coals are bangers and burgers.
So in order to rescue myself from a summer’s worth of slightly boring barbeques, I’ve had a think about other things that can be cooked over the hot coals. Some of them might take a bit longer to prepare, some are just as convenient as the sausage option, but all of them are (hopefully) delicious…
Yes, the barbeque is traditionally the meat-lovers domain and that’s probably not going to change any time soon, but there are plenty of vegetable-based sides and dishes that taste pretty darned good cooked on the grill too. Corn on the cob is one such thing – I went through nearly my entire childhood and teenage years before realising corn on the cob could be cooked in (or rather on) something other than a pan of boiling water. It was on holiday in Greece when I first tasted a grilled corn on the cob with a sprinkling of salt (cooked on the beach, naturally) and I haven’t looked back since. That’s all you need – a barbeque, some corn and a bit of salt. I think we can all manage that.
The next one is not quite so obvious. We all know lettuce is a summer staple but it usually doesn’t venture far beyond the salad bowl. However, if you quarter a romaine lettuce and grill the hearts on the barbeque, these sweet, delicious wonders taste amazing with some bacon and/or blue cheese dressing.
I love love love chicken satay but it only occurred to me the other day that it might taste even better cooked on a barbeque. The lengthy part of the process is the marinating bit – I normally use a mixture of soy sauce, lime juice, sweet chilli sauce, crush garlic, ground coriander seed and a bit of brown sugar to taste. As an accompaniment, it’s relatively easy to make up your own spicy peanut sauce – fry up a finely chopped onion and garlic clove then add in about half a tin of coconut milk, the juice from 1-2 limes, some sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and a couple of tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter. Adjust the ingredients until you find the best balance of spicy, sweet, bitter and salty to suits your tastes (you can add a bit of brown sugar here too if you want) and keep stirring until ready – you can put in more coconut milk or water if it gets too dry. And as a suitable accompaniment, you could try your hand at a refreshing Thai-style salad.
Sandwiches you say? Surely not? Of course I don’t mean the cheese and pickle on sliced white variety, but more your wraps, pitta bread and paninis. What’s wrong with chucking them on the grill for a minute each side? Just the same as a toasted sandwich but without the sandwich toaster – make them as massive and ingredient-filled as you desire.
If you have a barbeque with a hood, the possibilities are endless and an outdoor Sunday roast might even be the order of the day…