First a few general remarks / tips about grilling:
1 Make sure your grill is hot Get the charcoal white hot before you start cooking, so no matter what you grill, you cook and, most importantly, taste the best you can. Charcoal that is not hot enough will stain your food with a black tint of “dirty” smoke that does not taste good. (By the way, I buy my charcoal from Whittle & Flame, which makes by far the best I’ve ever used – it’s made from sustainable wood that delivers the unique taste of British woods to your food; it’s also incredibly easy to light, which is a pretty pain with most other charcoal.)
2 Have the right tools Long tweezers / tongs, a digital temperature probe, a rip stone or two, some long spears, a steel stand (a bread cooling rack pigeons), a lighter and some odorless natural lighters (the ones I use are made of untreated wood wool).
Grilled broccoli with black garlic, yuzu and parmesan
This is a perfect accompaniment to fish or meat – it’s incredible with a barbecue steak – or to enjoy alone.
Prepare 5 min
Cook 15 min
400 g long-stemmed broccoli (ie tender stem or purple sprouts)
Extra virgin olive oil – a Greek, to prefer
1 large pinch of sea salt flakes
Juice and peel of 1 lemon
Parmesan shavings, to finish
For black garlic and yuzu dressing
185 g Kewpie mayonnaise (this Japanese mayonnaise is now widely available in major supermarkets and online; alternatively try Yo! Crememy Japanese Mayonnaise or even Hellmann’s)
150 g clove black garlic, without skin
20ml let soy sauce
40ml yuzu juice (from the world of food in large supermarkets, specialized Asian food stores and online)
20 g warm English mustard – I use Tracklements’ Tewkesbury
10ml apple cider vinegar – I use Willys
¼ clove of garlic, crushed
10 g tomato umami pasta – I use Taste No. 5, but Clearspring and Barts have similar
Wash the broccoli and cut it off and discard any woody ends.
Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender, blend into a smooth paste, then put in a clean jar or container and refrigerate until needed. You get more dressing than you need for this dish, but it stays in the fridge for up to a month and is great for grilled meats, fish and vegetables; I love it on fish and chips.
Place the broccoli skewers on a rack directly over the hot coals, cook for two to three minutes until they begin to blister and blacken slightly on one side, then turn and repeat on the other side. Transfer the charred broccoli to a dish or container, drizzle a good blob of extra virgin olive oil over, a large pinch of sea salt in flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice and a little peel, then toss, cover and let it steam in. the residual heat for two minutes.
Transfer the broccoli and all the juice to a serving dish and drizzle generously with black garlic and yuzu dressing – preferably all over. Sprinkle with parmesan chips and serve immediately.
Shawarma-spiced chicken thighs
This is a epic Levantine chicken kebab. I first made it in lockdown, after seeing a friend make it on Instagram. He gave me the recipe that I developed for Jöro’s “home” meal set.
Prepare 15 min
Chill 2 hours
Mariner 4 hours +
Cook 30 min
8 bone and skinless chicken thighs, corn-fed and free-range, to prefer
75 g soft light brown sugar
75 g table salt
Juice and peel of 3 lemons
2 garlic cloves, cloves separated, peeled and crushed
5 bay leaves
20 g fresh thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
For the marinade
175 g tomato puree
50 g tomato umami pasta (see note on previous recipe)
200ml extra virgin olive oil
50 g nocellara oliven, hollowed out
100ml heather honey
125ml of water
Juice and peel of 2 lemons
10 cloves garlic, peeled and torn
5 teaspoons crushed coriander
5 teaspoons crushed cumin
5 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons dried oregano
4 teaspoons crushed allspice
5 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons hot chili oil
2 teaspoons chili flakes
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
5 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 teaspoons table salt
Put all the brine ingredients in a large saucepan with one and a half liters of cold water, bring to a boil, then turn off and let it cool. Once cooled, refrigerate to cool completely.
Place the chicken thighs one at a time between two pieces of greaseproof paper (or two pieces of cling film or in a zipper or freezer bag) and wash them gently with a rolling pin or a meat tenderizer until they are approx. 1 cm thick all over. Cut across the thigh into 4 cm wide strips.
Put the tender chicken in a deep dish, cover completely with the cold brine (still with all the pieces in) and refrigerate for two hours.
While the chicken is cooking, add all the ingredients for the marinade in a blender and blend to a smooth mass. Lift the chicken from the sheet and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Pour the marinade over the chicken, turn to coating, then refrigerate again for four to six hours and preferably overnight.
Pull the marinated chicken strips on large metal skewers, leave as much marinade on them as possible, then reinforce with one or two more skewers so that each shawarma has two or three skewers through – it will help the chicken stick together during cooking, and makes your life much simpler.
Cook the shawarma over a hot grill (I like to remove the grill net and rest the skewers on the sides of the grill so that the meat hangs directly over the hot coals) until the outside is charred and caramelized and the chicken is cooked through (ie when the juice runs clear when it is pierced with a knife, or when it reaches 70C, when it is probed). Let rest for five minutes before serving with flatbread, pickles (I like pickled red onions and pickled red cabbage), fried eggplant el. imam bayaldi, hummus and a crispy green salad. And be sure to serve all the dormant juices – they are incredible.
Grilled pineapple with sweet Thai syrup
An absolutely delicious little pudding weapon: the natural sugars in the pineapple caramelize, and are mega with the coconut sugar and the aromas. This is a good dish to beat out over the fire in the winter.
Prepare 10 min
Infuse 2 hours +
Cook 30 min
1 large ripe pineapple
Coconut ice cream or yogurt, to serve
To the syrup
125 g soft light brown sugar
125 g coconut sugar, organic for preference
200ml coconut water
3 sticks of fresh lemongrass, roots only, bashed
4 fresh makrut lime leaves
50 g piece of fresh ginger, peeled and torn
2 red chilies, sown and chopped
Juice and peel of 1 lime, plus a little extra spice at the end
1 pinch sea salt
Put all the syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a slow boil while stirring often. Cook until the mixture is reduced by half, then remove from the heat, allow to cool and refrigerate for a few hours (and preferably overnight) to infuse.
Cut the rind of the pineapple, then cut the fruit into quarters and cut the core from each piece.
Coat the pineapple quarters in syrup, then push a spear through both ends of each piece – this makes them more stable and easier to maneuver. Grill for 10-15 minutes, brushing them all over with a little of the remaining syrup every few minutes until they are charred, golden and caramelized.
Let the cooked pineapple rest in the remaining syrup so that it cools and absorbs the juice, then cut it out like a piece of meat and serve it warm with the resting juice, grated lime peel and coconut ice cream or yogurt.