Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Summertime Blues

With the five day forecast showing "light showers" for Saturday, inevitably I'm invited to a cook-it-yourself barbecue. Welcome to the British summer.

Uninevitably, I was asked my opinion on barbecuing fish. Although I came up with a good answer off the top of my head, there's more, so I've hit the references and come up with a few suggestions.

Lea and Perrins barbecue cookbook[1] suggest cleaning fresh sardines, but leaving the heads on, coating in sea salt and cooking for 8-10 minutes on an oiled barbecue. Rick Stein, on the other hand, thinks you should oil the fish, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

Rick Stein is very keen on chargrilling or barbecuing fish. He notes that oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, herring etc.) are all good. Also Mediterranean fish, such as Mullet, Bream, Gurnard and so forth can all be usefully barbecued. He notes the golden rule of barbecuing - do it on the hot ashes; flame is bad, but the metal must be hot, and the fish well oiled to prevent it sticking.

Here's a couple of things you can do in addition:

Lime Butter:

Take a lime and a pack of butter. If the butter is warm you, can do this by hand, but if you have a food processor, why bother? Anyway, zest and juice the lime, add to the butter, and mix. You can use the butter to "oil" or baste your fish[2], or, assuming you forget, spread it on the bread you have with it.

Lime Mayonnaise:

If you make your own mayonnaise, then I'm suitably impressed! Replace the vinegar in the recipe with lime juice, and at the moment when it's emulsifying, add some lime zest.

If you're constrained like most people into using bought in mayonnaise, then it's even easier. Simply squeeze a little lime juice into the mayonnaise and add a bit of zest, stir until smooth, and presto! The farm shop sells Tarragon and Lime Mayonnaise, which is really nice, and I'm pretty sure you know how to make your own after this hint.

I'm done here, which is a bit disappointing as I thought I had lots of fish barbecuing advice. Just one or two unrelated notes: I successfully returned the hat Mum hired for a wedding, but for that and other reasons, missed Alan Titchmarsh, Gardener, TV Personality and writer of slightly steamy novels[3] signing at Sandwich Bookshop - possibly the most exciting thing to happen in Sandwich since, um, er...

[1] A useful free offer that doesn't overuse Worcester Sauce (much)
[2] This may or may not be a recommendation, but I got the idea for this from Michael Swanwick's novel The Iron Dragon's Daughter.
[3] I am in no way an expert on erotica, but you can find ruder books in the Romance and Family Saga section in W H Smith.