Throw some shrimps on the barbie - some seafood barbecue ideas. As the summer wears on, it's all-too-easy to get into a repetitive pattern with your barbecue menu. Keen barbecuers probably have ready-prepared burgers, ribs and sausages in the freezer, and it can all get a bit dull after a while. So how about ringing the changes with a seafood barbecue? It's a good option if you have non-meat eaters (but not vegetarians) on the guest list - and it's also a refreshing change if you're planning a slightly more sophisticated event. Watch some recipe videos online and ready your note.
In countries where seafood is fresh and relatively inexpensive, such as Australia, it's common to barbecue fish and other seafood. You'll find that a lot of fish is actually quite good value - and it's worth making friends with your local fishmonger who will let you know what's in season, what's good value, and will have a wealth of recipe ideas.
Fish is not as sturdy as meat when it comes to barbecuing, so there are some techniques to consider before we look at recipe ideas.
Fish can be placed in a double-side fish grill - this is a double-sided grill that holds the fish in place. You open it up, place the fish inside and then it can be turned over using the handle, which keeps the fish in one piece. A large spatula, which will allow you to flip the fish over in one piece, is another useful tool.
When choosing fish to cook, look for firm-fleshed varieties such as monkfish, tuna, cod and prawns. Make sure your grill is really clean, as any old bits of food (apart from being revolting!) will encourage the fish to stick and fall apart when you try to move it. Also ensure the grill and fish are well oiled, which will also prevent sticking.
Patience is a virtue when cooking fish on the barbecue. While actually cooking fish is pretty quick, you need to avoid turning it over until the flesh on one side is seared - otherwise you'll end up flipping it over and over and increase the chances of your fish disintegrating.
Fish steaks - cod, tuna and swordfish - can be impressive on the barbecue. The meaty flesh is robust enough to stand up to barbecue cooking, and its texture will please those who feel they haven't eaten if they haven't eaten meat!
Personally, I find salmon a rather bland fish, so I like to marinade salmon fillets before barbecuing. A marinade of capers, dill, oil, garlic and lemon thyme will add some flavour - place the fish in a dish, cover wit the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. The fillets should only take about five minutes or so to cook, and you can brush them with the marinade throughout the cooking process.
Your average barbecue features side dishes such as coleslaw, potato salads, green salads and breads. A seafood barbecue requires a slightly different touch. You don't want anything too overpowering in flavour, or you will lose the delicate seafood flavours. Invest in some really good bread - handmade crispy baguettes are delicious. And cook new potatoes with butter and mint, rather than serving a mayonnaise-based potato salad. Green salads always work well with fish.
Roasted vegetables will also be delicious - either roast in the oven, after seasoning and drizzling with olive oil, or roast on the grill - slice courgettes, aubergine for instance - or create roast vegetable kebabs with tiny tomatoes, mushrooms, baby corn and onions. Be sure to keep the veg basted to stop it from drying out.