If, when a barbecue is mentioned, your immediate thoughts are – “Oh no, burnt sausages and rain” – you probably won’t be too excited to learn that National Barbecue Week starts on Monday.
To be honest, even I, as a big barbecue fan, had never heard of the week until last year when the Derby Telegraph told me about the event and asked me to pair wines with my favourite chargrilled meals for this column.
Since then, things have moved on at quite a pace and my cooking partner, Dougie, and I have come up with a barbecue cookery and wine course that, with its absolute guarantee of no burnt offerings and no rain, will appeal even to hardened barbecue non-believers.
Clearly, we’ve not assumed a God like control of the heavens to quell the rain but we have invested in a specially designed barbecue cabin that allows us to carry on cooking over coals whatever the weather. From Finland by way of Ilkeston, the cabin can accommodate up to 25 people but we restrict the numbers to 10 on the courses to ensure that everyone has a great view of the grills in action.
Food wise, things on the course aren’t what you’d necessarily expect from a barbecue and that’s because we use highly versatile and precise Big Green Egg barbecues to cook all the dishes. The Eggs are a big favourite with Michelin starred chefs and were featured in the recent semi-finals of Masterchef.
During the monthly courses, guests get to try over 15 different dishes and, today, I’d like to talk about the delicious bread we start the course with and the wines that we serve with our salmon and beef dishes.
After much experimentation with Focaccia, Ciabatta and the like, Dougie and I discovered Gaucho bread after a visiting Argentinian winemaker told us all about asados. An asado is the most popular social gathering in Argentina and no weekend is truly complete without it. It’s a uniquely South American celebration of seared meat and flame that’s filled with good times and much Malbec.
At asados, they serve up a flatbread called Pan Con Ajo Y Romero A La Parrilla to soak up all the delicious juices from the chargrilled steaks and it’s this bread that we’ve rechristened Gaucho bread. It’s really easy to make and can be cooked to perfection on any barbecue.
Mix 525g plain flour with 2 tablespoons sea salt, 2 teaspoons dried yeast and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Knead until a smooth elastic dough is formed and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size (1 – 1.5 hours) Then, knock back the dough and divide into 6 equal pieces, brush one side with garlic and rosemary oil (2 garlic cloves, 60ml extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons sea salt and a handful of rosemary) and cook the oiled side on a hot grill for 5 minutes and then repeat the process with the other side.
Naked Salmon and Teriyaki Salmon with Asian Style Slaw served with Unico Pecorino, Tenuta Ulisse £ 12
We keep our salmon dishes beautifully tender and moist by cooking them on pre-soaked oak planks over indirect heat.
The Unico Pecorino has highly fruity aroma with citrus, tropical nuances, white fruits and exotic, papaya like, undertones. On the palate, the Pecorino’s tropicality is to the fore and the wine finishes with subtle balsamic notes.
‘Dirty’ Ribeye Steak with Herbed Mushrooms and Hasselback Potatoes served with Unico Montepulciano d’Abruzzo £ 12
This Unico Montepulciano is fruity and flowery with hints of cherry, blackberries and ripe red fruits.
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