Liven up your barbecue with these alternatives to traditional sausages, burgers and chicken drumsticks…
As the warmer weather looks set to continue, National BBQ Week couldn’t have come at a better time.
Taking place for the 24th time from today until Sunday (May 31), the occasion signals the start of summer and celebrates all that is great about the growing barbecue culture in the UK.
And while many of us will usually associate meat with barbecuing, it’s important to not forget that seafood and vegetables taste just as good grilled.
Ambassador for the industry body Seafish, and world barbecue champion, Ben Bartlett offers his top tips for cooking seafood on the grill and has shared a number of recipes you can try out, too, including a seafood pizza.
“Barbecues aren’t just for steaks and sausages and there’s never been a better time to try something new. There’s hundreds of seafood species that can be found in UK waters. By opting for monkfish, mackerel, hake or lemon sole for your garden barbecue, you’ll not only be creating a meal that’s full of flavour and health benefits but will also be supporting the UK seafood industry.
“One of my favourite things to cook fish on the barbecue is a pizza with a seafood twist. It’s a quick, easy recipe and it looks amazing. The pizza can be topped with barbecued monkfish, prawns and anchovies.”
How to prepare the fish:
The simplest seasoning for seafood is salt and pepper. But you can take this up a level with a squeeze of lemon, which can add moisture and a really zingy, fresh flavour.
To spice things up, try adding some olive oil with chilli and garlic or paprika and lemon zest. Adding spice to fish can quickly turn a humble fillet into a meal fit for a king.
How to cook it:
Fish cooked any way on the barbecue will always taste amazing, but my go-to methods are either wrapping the fish in foil or simply grilled straight on the barbecue.
When cooking fish wrapped in foil, herbs and spices come into their own. The fish comes out very moist and the meat just flakes off the bones. This is a really simple method but makes you look like a barbecue pro.
When cooking directly on the grill, my top tip is to season it with olive oil and rosemary before you start. Not only does this add great flavour, it stops the fish from sticking to your barbecue.
Cooking fish over flames or coal is all about one or two ingredients and if you have some herbs and spices handy, you can turn good BBQ food into great BBQ food. Pack the body cavity of lemon sole with samphire or fennel to make a truly mouth-watering fish dish.
Grilled Lime & Fennel Sardines
- 12 whole sardines, cleaned
- Salt and black pepper, to season
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, finely diced, reserving any leaves
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves, shredded
- Rinse the sardines under cold water, place in a shallow non-metallic bowl and season.
- Mix together the garlic, fennel, oil, zest and juice of the limes and thyme leaves.
- Rub the marinade over the sardines, cover and marinate for at least and hour.
- Preheat the barbecue or grill.
- Barbecue or grill the sardines for 3 minutes on each side, turning once. The skin of the sardines should be brown and crispy.
Cook’s tip: Serve the sardines with roasted tomatoes and plenty of crusty bread.
Citrus Lemon Sole Skewers
- 4 x 170g lemon sole fillets, skinned
- Salad, to serve
- 8 tbsp spicy tomato sauce, to serve
- 8 wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
For the marinade:
- Juice and zest 1 lemon
- Juice and zest 2 limes
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and place in a shallow non-metallic dish.
- Halve each lemon sole fillet lengthways and thread onto the skewers. Place the skewers in the marinade and turn until covered. Cover and leave to marinate for up to 15 minutes.
- Preheat the barbecue or grill.
- Cook the skewers on the barbecue or under the grill for about 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve with the salad and tomato sauce.
For the dough:
- 1 tsp salt
- 120ml warm water
- 2 tsp light brown sugar
- 2 sachets fast action died yeast (2 x 7g)
- 750g white flour
- 50g corn meal corn flour
- 25g whole wheat flour
- 4 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 50ml whipping cream
- 3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 8 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
For the topping
- Olive oil
- Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (or similar)
- 10g Anchovies
- 100g tiger prawns
- 100g monkfish, cut into small slices
- Measure 60ml of warm water into a bowl, add the sugar and yeast and stir to dissolve. Stand for at least 5 minutes to proof (until froth forms on top).
- Sift the white flour, wheat flour, corn meal and salt into a bowl.
- Make a depression in the middle of the flour and add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and 60ml warm water. Add the yeast mixture and mix all ingredients with your hands. Gather the dough and place it on a pre-floured board.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes to form a smooth, elastic ball, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Grease a large bowl with olive oil and add the dough turning it to coat the top.
- Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (approximately 45 minutes).
- Make the sauce by melting the butter in a pan. Add the garlic and sweat for one minute on a medium heat. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly to avoid the sauce burning and turning bitter. Add the cream, basil and oregano and bring to a boil.
- Once the dough has risen, divide into 6 equal pieces. On a floured surface roll out the dough into a round shape about 1.5cm thick. Coat both sides of the shaped crust with olive oil.
- Place directly on a hot clean grill until the upper surface begins to bubble (about 2 minutes). Watch the crust closely and rotate with tongs if necessary. Remove the crust and turn cooked side up (it should be golden brown). Brush with olive oil, sauce, cheese and the fish toppings. Sprinkle some olive oil over each pizza.
- Return for final cooking (2 to 4 minutes) rotating for even cooking until the crust is brown and the cheese is hot and bubbly.