Yotam Ottolenghi’s barbecue recipes | Life and style

Every year, I end up testing barbecue recipes in the rain, with an umbrella balanced precariously on one shoulder, but this year’s mission coincided with the hottest April week in 70 years. Barbecue sales doubled, supermarkets ran out of burgers, rosé and sun cream, and I leapt on the balmy bandwagon by celebrating the spring sun with ingredients from Mexico to Thailand. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more scorchers this summer, but there’s enough chilli heat here to keep us all nice and warm, just in case.

Thai marinated onglet skewers with peanut and lime dressing (pictured above)

If you can’t get hold of onglet, which is a great secondary cut of beef that’s perfect for the barbecue, experiment with other cuts such as rump or sirloin. You will need 12 wooden skewers, about 21cm long, soaked in water for 10 minutes

Prep 15 min
Marinate 2 hr+
Cook 35 min
Serves 6 (2 skewers each)

1kg onglet steak (also known as hanger steak)
1½ tbsp vegetable oil

For the marinade
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
10 makrut lime leaves, stalks discarded, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you don’t like too much heat)
150ml soy sauce
2 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
75ml maple syrup
2-3 limes, juiced, to get 40ml
1½ tbsp fish sauce

For the dressing
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tbsp rice-wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped (again, discard the seeds if you want it less hot)
1 tbsp roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted and roughly chopped

Cut the meat against the grain into 5mm-thick slices, removing any silverskin or gristle as you go. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a non-reactive container, then add the meat and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for at least two hours (and up to two days).

For the dressing, mix the first five ingredients in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the spring onions, chilli, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. Add half this mixture to the soy sauce mixture and set the rest aside – you’ll use it as a garnish.

Drain the meat in a sieve set over a medium saucepan to catch the marinade in the pan; discard the aromatics. Put the marinade on a medium-high heat, bring to a simmer and cook for about three minutes, until reduced and thickened to the consistency of a glaze.

Line a work surface with a few sheets of clingfilm, then spread the meat out in a single layer on top. Cover with a few more sheets of clingfilm, then use a rolling pin to bash the meat until it is very thin – about 2-3mm thick. Thread the meat on to the soaked skewers (about 80g meat per skewer), then brush with a little oil and grill on the barbecue for about four minutes, turning a few times and basting with the reserved glaze until the meat has deep char marks and is golden brown all over. Leave to rest for a few minutes, then transfer to a serving plate.

Drizzle the dressing over the meat, sprinkle the reserved herb and peanut mixture on top, and serve hot.

Charred beetroot with lime salsa and pickled chillies

Yotam Ottolenghi’s charred beetroot with lime salsa and pickled chillies.



Yotam Ottolenghi’s charred beetroot with lime salsa and pickled chillies. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

If you’re using shop-bought cooked beets, look for ones with no added vinegar, salt or sugar. Don’t worry if your barbecue doesn’t have a resting rack, but do ensure that you’re cooking the beetroots over the very coolest coals for the first 30 minutes. Use recyclable foil trays if you’re worried about damaging a baking tray.

Prep 12 min
Marinate 30 min+
Cook 40 min
Serves 4 as a side

10 makrut lime leaves, stalks discarded, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 limes, zest finely grated, to get 2 tsp, then juiced, to get 1½ tbsp
90ml olive oil
Flaked sea salt
525g cooked beetroot, shop-bought or freshly cooked, drained and quartered
1 small red chilli, finely sliced on an angle
1½ tbsp white-wine vinegar
½ tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
120g creme fraiche
1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp dill leaves, finely chopped

Put the first four ingredients, three tablespoons of the oil and a teaspoon of flaked sea salt in a spice grinder and blitz to a loose paste. Put the beetroot quarters in a bowl, add half the paste, toss well to coat and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to three hours. Keep the remaining paste for serving.

Spread out the beets on a baking tray, place this on the resting rack of the barbecue over the coolest coals, close the lid of the barbecue and cook for about 30 minutes, until soft and lightly smoked.

While the beetroot is cooking, put the chilli in a small bowl with the vinegar, sugar and half a teaspoon of flaked sea salt. Leave to pickle for at least 30 minutes, or up to three hours.

Brush the beetroot quarters with a tablespoon of the oil and the maple syrup, then put them directly on the grill in a hotter area of the barbecue and cook for four to five minutes, turning regularly, until they’re covered in good char marks.

Spread the creme fraiche on a large plate and top with the beetroot quarters. Spoon the remaining makrut lime paste evenly over the beetroot, then sprinkle over the herbs. Drizzle over the remaining oil and finish with the pickled chilli and a generous sprinkle of flaked sea salt.

Blackened sea bass with scotch bonnet sauce

Yotam Ottolenghi’s blackened sea bass with scotch bonnet dipping sauce.



Yotam Ottolenghi’s blackened sea bass with scotch bonnet sauce. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

This is meant to be enjoyed like tacos, where you pile the fish and condiments into tortillas. The fish on its own, with its deep-flavoured, black garlic marinade, will also work a treat with only a squeeze of lime for company, but the dipping sauce is so good, and easy, it would be a shame not to make that, too. In fact, you may well end up hooked on the stuff and find yourself wanting to eat it with all sorts.

Prep 15 min
Marinate 1 hr+
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

4 small sustainably sourced sea bass (250-300g each), cleaned, scaled and patted dry (or sea bream, black bream or similar firm-fleshed fish)
Salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the marinade
30g black garlic cloves (about 15)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded
1-2 limes, zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 2 tbsp
½ tsp soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes or ½ tbsp of regular chilli flakes)
60ml olive oil
1 tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra to season
Corn tortillas

For the dipping sauce
1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
5g spring onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice

For the herb salad
10g mint leaves
10g coriander leaves
2 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
Flaked sea salt, to taste

Put all the marinade ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Season the fish inside and out with salt. Set half the marinade aside for serving and rub the rest all over the fish and inside the cavity. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight.

Mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl with a good pinch of flaked sea salt. Mix all the ingredients for the herb salad in a medium bowl.

Drizzle each fish on both sides with the oil and put on the barbecue over a medium heat. Grill for six to seven minutes on each side, until cooked through with good char marks. Take care when lifting the fish off the grill, because the skin may stick (I find it best to ease them off gently with a metal spatula). Cover the fish tightly with foil, to keep warm, while you toast the tortillas.

Put a large, cast-iron pan on the barbecue over the hottest coals and, once very hot, lay as many tortillas as will fit in the pan at a time and toast for a minute or so on each side, until warmed through and nicely charred on both sides.

Open the foil parcels, transfer the fish to a large serving plate and serve hot with the tortillas, dipping sauce, herb salad and reserved black garlic marinade.

  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay. Food stylist assistant: Katy Gilhooly

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