Bill Granger recipes: Firing up the barbecue? Here's how to get all your guests involved... - Features - Food + Drink - The Independent

Bill Granger recipes: Firing up the barbecue? Here's how to get all your guests involved...

The great joy of a barbecue: everyone wants to get involved. So fire up, and be prepared for your plans to get a little tweaked

I find inviting friends over for a barbecue one of the easiest and most satisfying ways of entertaining in the summer. Make a dressing or a salsa, get whatever needs marinating marinating, then leave the actual cooking for when your friends have arrived.

Hanging around the barbecue, with the beautiful scent of grilling seafood and meat making everyone hungry and impatient, is all part of the ritual. It's what barbecues are all about as far as I'm concerned. I love the way friends will come over to the grill, spare beer in their hand, eager to help out. It's something people rarely feel comfortable doing when you're indoors in a real kitchen, in case they might be intruding.

Of course, with help comes loss of ownership of the recipes, which, before you know it, will have taken an unexpected direction. But so what if suddenly the squid has been cut into strips and skewered, or the dill dressing for the grilled vegetable salad has been pimped with the soured cream you meant to serve with the pork? I can be quite relaxed about stuff like that, but if it stresses you out to have your planned menu reinvented by a well-meaning helper, arrange the ingredients by recipe on to separate trays.

Or, if you want to be really unpopular, hand out printed copies of the recipes. Be warned, though, you'll probably have to go to the fridge to get your own beer after that…

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill.granger

Mixed grilled seafood with chunky tomato salsa

Peeling grilled prawns is messy, sticky work, but cooking them whole guarantees a beautiful charred flavour without losing any of the juiciness from the flesh.

Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
12 raw king prawns in their shells
6-8 cleaned squid
½ lemon

For the salsa

2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
4 tomatoes, halved, seeded and chopped
Handful mint, chopped
Handful parsley, choppe
d

First make the tomato salsa. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season with sea salt. Set aside until ready to use.

Mix together the olive oil and chilli flakes and toss half through a bowl of the prawns then use the remainder to coat the squid. Season with salt. Preheat a barbecue to hot. Cook the prawns for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they change colour and start to char. Set aside to a large serving dish.

Cook the squid in the same way, skewering the tentacles if they are so small they look like they might fall though the grill rack. Place the squid in the same serving dish as the prawns and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon. Serve with the chunky tomato salsa.

Aubergine and courgette salad with feta and a spicy preserved-lemon dressing

Moving the vegetables from the barbecue straight into the dressing when they are still hot will ensure they soak in all the flavours without having to marinate for ages.

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 small preserved lemon, rind only, chopped
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp toasted coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 garlic clove, crushed
Few dill sprigs, torn
2 aubergines, cut lengthways into thin slices
2 courgettes, cut lengthways into thin slices
200g feta

Aubergines and courgettes with a spicy preserved-lemon dressing Aubergines and courgettes with a spicy preserved-lemon dressing (Martin Poole)
Make the dressing by combining the olive oil, preserved lemon, chilli, coriander seeds, garlic and dill in a small bowl. Season with sea salt.

Preheat the barbecue to hot. Brush the vegetables with a little olive oil. Cook the aubergine slices for 2 minutes on each side, until well-charred and tender. Transfer to a bowl with half the dressing and toss well to combine. Barbecue the courgettes for 1 minute on each side, remove and toss into the aubergine. Set aside to cool.

To serve, break the feta cheese into big chunks on to a platter. Arrange the barbecued vegetables around it and spoon over the remaining dressing.

Paprika pork skewers with red pepper and parsley salad

You could barbecue fresh peppers for the salad, but I've chosen to keep things quick and easy, and used jarred.

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
Few thyme sprigs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
600g pork shoulder, cut into 2cm cubes
Few fresh bay leaves
150g soured cream

For the salad

2 grilled red peppers from a jar, sliced into thick strips
Large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
Juice ½ lemon
1½ tbsp olive oil

To serve

Flatbread
Lemon wedges

Pork skewers with a red pepper salad Pork skewers with a red pepper salad (Martin Poole)
Mix together the olive oil, paprika, thyme and half the garlic into a bowl. Stir in the cubed pork. Cover and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. Thread the pork on to metal skewers with a couple of bay leaves on each skewer. Preheat a barbecue to hot. Cook the kebabs for 8 to 10 minutes, turning until browned all over.

Combine the soured cream and remaining garlic in a small bowl and season with sea salt. Set aside. Combine all the ingredients for the salad and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Serve the skewers with the salad, garlic soured cream, warmed flatbread and lemon wedges, if you like.

Food preparation: Rosie Reynolds & Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Juke

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