Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin
Barbeque season is upon us, it is time to take it up a notch. With Grill Smoke BBQ, written by Ben Tish of Amber yard the grill restaurant in Burwick St., Soho, you can do just that.
Although this book does include the standards like steak and burgers, they favour the lighter dishes with more fish, vegetables and even desserts. Designed for the wood and charcoal barbeques the recipes can still be cooked using a gas barbeque.
Choosing and using your barbecue includes all you need from how to choose your barbecue to controlling the heat and more. See "Wood and Charcoal" for tips on using different kinds of wood.
With very little introduction the book cuts straight to the recipes categories. Categories include "Breakfast, Brunch and Bread", "Tapas and Small Plates", "Large Plates", "Sides", "Desserts", and basics. Included is a small page of suppliers for barbecues complete with addresses for their websites.
One of the things I particularly like about this cookbook is that the pictures are big and beautiful. Each recipe includes specific details on exactly how to cook it with background and thoughts about the recipe.
With the focus off of the traditional recipes which we've all done many a time, it is nice to see such a variety of other ideas. I never thought I'd see a recipe for "Pancetta Poached Eggs" or "CharGrilled Pineapple with Yogurt Mousse and Pistachio Praline" which of course look delicious.
Focus On Family-Style Eating
A strong focus in the book is eating family-style. When I married into a European family I was introduced family-style eating. It is something that is new relatively new to North America but is becoming more popular.
Put a whole bunch of small dishes on the table, share amongst everybody at the table and you have family-style. The benefit is a much more social atmosphere. Great for actual family gatherings but especially good for dinner with new friends because it encourages conversation and sharing.
Several of the recipes are designed for exactly that kind of eating. See dishes in the "Tapas and Small Plates", "Large Plates", and "Sides" categories designed for this new style. I do strongly recommend that you give it a try.
I love cooking this dish in early summer, when peas and beans are at their sweetest and most vibrant; however, for convenience or out of season, you can use good quality frozen peas and beans. As well as adding extra flavor, brining the chip the duck breast beforehand helps it to keep it succulent. To get the skin nice and crisp, it's best to score it and render the fat over a low heat, then you can ramp up the fire to cook the meat quickly so it stays pink. The hot mint sauce has an exotic North African edge to it that works well with fatty meats – the acidic of the hot vinegar cuts through the richness.
Trim the duck breast of any excess fat in sinew, then use a very sharp knife to lightly escort the skin in a crisscross pattern, without cutting into the flesh. Put in a nonreactive bowl, pour over the brine and refrigerate to cure for one hour.
For the hot mint sauce, place the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, mint stocks and the cumin and coriander seeds in a small, nonreactive saucepan and place over medium heat on the stove top. When the garlic starts to turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the vinegar. Season well, then set aside for an hour or so to infuse.
If you're using fresh peas and beans, cook them in boiling salted water for two minutes. Refresh in ice water, then drain. Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking.
Remove the duck breasts from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the duck , skin side down, on the grill in the indirect heat zone and throw a small handful of cherry woodchips onto the charcoal. Close the lid of the barbecue and cook the duck for four minutes to render some of the fat and lightly caramelized the skin. Open the lid, transfer the dock to the direct cooking zone, throw another small handful of woodchips onto the charcoal and close the lid. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, still skin side down, then turn the duck breasts onto the flash side and cook for two minutes or until cooked to medium (if you press your finger into the meat, it should bounce back); give it another 3–4 minutes if you want it well done. move the dock to a warm spot to rest for five minutes.
Strain the infused mint sauce on into a clean saucepan, then add the peas and broad beans and bring to the boil in the direct heat zone. Season the sauce well, throw in the mint leaves and remove from the heat as soon as the mint has wilted.
Spoon some of the peas and beans onto the plate, then thickly sliced the duck breasts and place on top. Spoon over the rest of the peas and beans, drizzle over the hot mint sauce and serve.
Brine For Red Meat
Place all the ingredients in a medium non-reactive saucepan with 4 1/2 cups (1 litre) of water. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring as you go to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.
Serve with Grilled Fennel with Goats Curd, Honey and Hazelnut Piccata (see page 94); Lamb Chops with Smoky Aubergine and Salsa Verde (see page 73)
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