The haze of the barbecue on a sultry day is the very essence of relaxed summer entertaining. Bring the smouldering charms of the flame to your plate with these three delicious recipes.
1. Smoky Chicken with Chipotle
A Mexican chipotle marinade will give your chicken some smoky fire whether on the barbecue or under the grill. Serve with zingy fresh pineapple or mango slices and a leafy salad.
4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned
2 tbsp tequila,
vodka or gin
2 chipotle chilles, torn into shreds, deseeded, stems removed
1 shallot, grated to a pulp
4 garlic cloves,
crushed juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp smoky seasoning
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To marinade your chicken, diagonally score the chicken breasts 3 or 4 times and set in a glass bowl.
Dry-toast the shredded chipotle in a non-stick fry pan for 2 minutes or until it smells toasty and rich, then crush.
In a food processor, combine the tequila ,crushed chipotle, shallot, garlic, orange juice, smoked seasoning and olive oil and blitz continuously for 20 seconds.
Pour over the chicken and rub in well. Leave for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours before barbecuing or grilling over low heat for 8-9 minutes each side or until cooked right through.
2. Hot Smoked Salmon with Sauce Escoffier
Hot-smoking will cook the fish as it smokes and you can make this dish on a barbecue with a secure fitting lid.
475-600g fresh salmon loin, pin boned, skinned
2 tsps each of caster sugar, table salt and mild paprika
For the smoker:
100g oak or hickory wood chips, soaked for 20 minutes
For the Sauce
50g walnuts, chopped
150ml thick mayonnaise
50ml crème fraîche
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pat dry the fish with kitchen paper. Mix together the caster sugar, table salt and paprika, rub it all over the fish and leave to stand in a non-reactive dish for 5 minutes or up to 4 hours, loosely covered.
Just before smoking, pat dry the fish again then set skinned-side down, on the rack. Smoke in a lidded barbecue by adding the chips to the charcoal embers, close the lid and hot- smoke for 30 minutes.
Remove the fish from the hottest central area to one side. Leave it covered but let it stand for 5 minutes, before removing.
Serve with the sauce, made simply by stirring the ingredients together, and accompanied by a fennel or cucumber salad, baby tomatoes and some sliced potatoes.
3. Vegetarian Meze with baba ghanoush and salsa
The charred skin of the aubergine gives an irresistible depth to this simple middle eastern favourite. Serve with fresh salsa, a good guacamole and griddled halloumi and bread.
2 large aubergines
2 tbsp tahini
6 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp each salt and pepper
2 sprigs oregano, baby basil or mint, chopped
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
For the salsa
150g cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions
½-1 small green chilli
Juice of a lime
salt and freshly ground pepper
Good quality guacamole, griddled halloumi, flat bread
To make the baba ghanoush, fork-prick the aubergines, place on a hot barbecue and grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until charred all over.
Leave to cool then drain off any juices. Roughly chop the aubergine and discard the stems.
Put into a food processor along with the tahini, garlic and seasonings and blitz in 6 or 8 sustained bursts to create a messy purée.
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Stir in the chopped herbs and serve with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, if liked. To make the salsa, roughly chop the tomatoes, spring onions and the chilli, then blitz for 4 seconds or so in a food processor – it should still be coarse.
Add lime juice and seasonings to taste. Serve the baba ghanoush and salsa with the accompaniments.
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