Barbecue season means exciting new recipes and experimenting with fresh flavours. As each vegetable comes into season, your menu will change and flavours become more complex as vegetables that take longer to grow have more flavour. For example, compare spring asparagus to fall carrots.
Pretty much any vegetable benefits from the smoky enhancement of the barbecue:
CARROTS - cut into batons, blanched, brushed with olive oil, grilled and sprinkled with a little sugar just before serving
ZUCCHINI - sliced lengthwise, basted with Italian salad dressing before grilling
EGGPLANT - sliced (sprinkle with salt, leave for a few minutes and pat dry), grilled and basted with Greek salad dressing just before done
GREEN, RED AND YELLOW PEPPERS - sliced, basted with olive oil, chopped rosemary and ground cumin, then grilled to perfection
MUSHROOMS - skewered, brushed with olive oil and chopped thyme, grilled and served with a squeeze of lemon
To add a vegetarian twist to your barbecue, try grilling some Halloumi cheese and serve it on a soft bun or sliced focaccia.
Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened cheese, matured in brine and traditionally made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk. It has a high melting point and is perfect for frying or grilling. Slice into half-inch pieces, brush with a little oil and put it on the barbecue for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned. Just before removing from the grill, squeeze some lemon over it.
Serve with slices of grilled vegetables. A perfect accompaniment is a pumpkin-seed spread, which also works as a dip.
Pumpkin seed dip or spread
* 1 long green chilli
* 2 cups toasted pumpkin seeds
* 1 tsp cumin seeds
* 1 spring onion, trimmed and chopped
* 1 cup coriander leaves
* 1 clove garlic, crushed
* º cup lime juice
*º cup olive oil
*º cup sesame paste (tahini)
* Two-thirds cup water
* Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Remove seeds, roughly chop chillies and place in the bowl of a food processor with the pumpkin and cumin seeds, onion, coriander, garlic, lime juice, oil, sesame paste, water, salt and pepper. Process until well combined.
-- Keith F. Mºller - Dean, School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts - Red River College