When the sun is shining and the pale legs come out, quite naturally, a lot of us start to think about cooking in the great outdoors. Which in turn, often leads to a stampede towards the end of the garden, to rescue and tidy up your BBQ. All spurred on by the promise of wonderful scents and sizzling sounds as that meat hits the grill. I’ve seen it happen. I have done it myself.
Having scrubbed old faithful clean, it is perhaps a shame though, that flipping burgers, steaks and chops should be at the forefront of our minds. After all, a lot of vegetables fare equally well, after a blast of heat or an injection of smoke. Think fresh asparagus spears, seared and simply dressed with lemon, olive oil and salt. Hispi cabbage, quickly charred and then sat indirectly, over low heat for an hour, totally transforms this brassica. Especially if you drizzle some tahini over afterwards. Even fruit benefits. Try sitting some strawberries in a colander and pop some soaked cherry wood on to the coals for ten minutes or so. Scoop a handful into bowl, add some torn mint leaves and vanilla ice-cream and boom, your approach to puddings will never be the same.
The main point is that BBQing isn’t always about the meat. So, we would like to share this very easy recipe that will hopefully broaden your horizons and bring some more veg to the table.
Escalivada is traditional to Catalan cuisine and roughly translates as ‘roasting in embers’. The key is to completely blacken the aubergines, peppers and onions, to impart that deliciously smoky flavour, and then it's just case of peeling, slicing and dressing with some clean herbs and citrus spice.
The real interesting aspect of this recipe, is that we find it goes very well with lamb. But we’ll leave that down to you.
- First, fire up your BBQ and wait until the charcoal is glowing white and hot.
- Next place the onions in their skins onto the grill, turning them occasionally as they begin to char.
- After ten minutes, then place the aubergines and peppers onto the grill. Again, turning them as the skins begin to blacken and blister.
- Once the vegetables are fully blackened and nice and soft, remove from the grill and leave to cool until they are warm to the touch.
- Carefully peel the skins from the peppers, aubergine, and onions and slice everything into strips, placing everything into a bowl. With the pepper, also take extra care with removing the seeds.
- Gently mix in the lemon juice and zest and add a healthy glug of oil. And then season to taste.
- Finish by arranging on a platter and top with the chopped parsley and sprinkle over the sumac.