It’s wonderful, watching people on Ron’s terrace on Sophialaan, drinking cocktails, a glass of wine, beautiful dishes and ending with the spare ribs without bone, great! Or what about the terrace on the Amstel in Ouderkerk… also wonderful, but you also want to spend an evening at home. Wear old trousers, flip flops, crackling fire…, and then those same spare ribs from Ron in the oven or microwave, whatever that is also possible, neatly delivered to your home by Sous.
But, do you really want to do something different, or even better, do something yourself? Then let me help you, with 3 recipes with little preparation, no risk and a high wow effect!
The first is a variant of the bizarrely delicious ‘mejillones’ at Compartir in Cadaqués. There they are made with warm béarnaise sauce, below they can be slightly less warm, which makes it a bit more relaxed, with a ‘cap’ of saffron mayonnaise.
Mussels with saffron mayo
1 kg mussels*
8 threads of saffron
300 g mayonnaise
1. Wash the mussels, remove the beards and other irregularities and make sure that all mussels are still closed and whole.
2. Place the saffran in 2 tablespoons of warm water and stir everything through the mayonnaise after 5 minutes. Leave for half an hour and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
3. Heat the BBQ to 250ºC and place a plancha or provide a special mussel grill pan (a kind of open frying pan with a fine-meshed bottom, a very fine-meshed BBQ grid will also do the trick).
4. Grill the mussels while stirring and shaking until done, check whether all shells are open, but do not allow the entire grilling to take longer than 3 minutes.
5. Let the mussels cool to lukewarm, loosen the mussels and break the shells in half on the hinge.
6. Fill the nicest mussel halves with mussels and spoon on some saffron mayonnaise (if this takes too long, for 6 people or more it is quite a job, then serve a number of them in the shell with some saffron mayonnaise on the side).
*Let’s debunk another myth. You eat mussels when the R is in season, summer, autumn and winter. The old story “only if the R is in the month” dates back to the time of inadequate cooling in the summer. The season starts in July and ends in April.
Chicken pickled in tea
1.5 liters of water
30 g tea (tasty!)
2 limes, sliced
80 grams of sugar
150 g of honey
30 g of salt
1 farm chicken, of 1½ kg
6 sprigs of thyme
1. Bring water with tea leaves to a boil, remove from heat and let cool completely. Pass through a sieve.
2. Mix the cooled tea with lime, sugar, honey and salt and stir until everything is dissolved.
3. Fill a large Ziploc bag with the chicken, thyme, and cold tea, push the bag into a pan of cold water close to the Zip to expel all the air, and zip it closed. Refrigerate overnight. Turn occasionally.
4. Remove the chicken from the bag and drain. Heat the bbq to 220ºC/medium and place the plate setter with a drip tray. Butterfly the chicken by using sturdy scissors to cut the backbone out of the chicken on both sides. Turn the chicken until crispy
(in the photo I cooked the bag of chicken for an hour in a pan of water at 70ºC and let it drain. Then it was cooked unbuttered on a rotisserie in a BBQ fired at 220ºC).
Caveman grilling is one of my favorite techniques, especially with beef that needs to be on cuisson. I always call it a kind of primal grilling. You have fire and you have an ingredient, so that might as well be something other than meat. Leek, for example, or pumpkin, or celeriac, and what about pineapple…?
Pineapple caveman with bacon and crème fraîche (dessert)
1 ripe pineapple*
200 g bacon, in thick slices
50 ml maple syrup
250 ml crème fraîche
50 g of powdered sugar
1 lime, grater
brown rum, optional
1. Heat the bbq to 250ºC and place the plate setter with a drip tray.
2. Grill the bacon until cooked through but not yet crispy, coat with maple syrup and grill until crispy. Brush again and grill until really crispy. Let cool on a rack and cut into small pieces with a chef’s knife.
3. Beat the crème fraîche with sugar in the food processor or with the hand mixer until it is nicely lumpy.
4. Remove the plate setter and place the pineapple* full in the embers.
5. Turn regularly until the pineapple skin is burnt on all sides.
Let cool for 10 minutes and cut the skin off the meat with a bread knife.
6. Divide the pineapple into slices and serve with the crème fraîche, the bacon bits and some grated lime.
* For an optimal taste you could inject the pineapple with brown rum.
All recipes are for 4 people and come, slightly edited, from my new book BBQ The Next Level. Photos are by Dennis Brandsma