Weather-proof barbecue food
WITH OUR CHANGEABLE summer weather, it’s good to have food in your repertoire for when the sun doesn’t shine and you can’t cook outdoors. Recipes that fit into this category include meat that can look charred and barbecued, but has been blasted in the oven or under the grill, as well as salads that can survive a couple of days in the fridge. In other words, foods that are weather- and time-proofed.
It’s true that most salads need to be made as close to serving as possible, but this rice salad happily survived two days in the fridge and was fine, probably because there was so much going on in it.
One of my favourite snack foods when the barbecue is out is corn on the cob cooked until nicely – but rather patchily – charred on a good portion of its surface. I serve them on a big platter, ideally with some chunks of miso butter sliding all over them (see my recipe for miso butter online at irishtimes.comif you missed it, from Saturday, May 19th). But again, in bad weather, these can been done on a chargrill pan which I think I will be using a lot this year for a full-on faux-barbecue effect. Just rub the corn with a little oil, season and char. That’s how I would recommend cooking them to use in this rice salad, but you could just slice the kernels off spanking fresh corn and not bother charring or even cooking it at all. If the corn is fresh enough, it doesn’t need to be cooked. But if it’s a little less than perfect, a quick blanch should help re-invigorate any kernels in need of plumping up.
I used a combination of wild rice and some brown rice and chucked in some red Camargue rice, although this can take a bit longer to cook. I’ve often been asked whether or not you can freeze rice and other grains and have never had a good answer to give. Well, now I do. According to Ancient Grains author, Maria Speck, you can cook grains, cool them down and then store in Ziploc freezer bags in the freezer and simply defrost and reheat with about two centimetres of water until piping hot and also reasonably dry.
Both these recipes are perfect for this type of haphazard party. And the yoghurt with a spoonful of good store-bought tomato chutney is a brilliant instant condiment for this type of meat dish. Feel free to mix and match the spices for the pork marinade. Use the recipe here as a guideline, only. A bit of tweaking really won’t matter too much.
Spiced pork skewers
650g pork fillet, trimmed and chopped into decent sized chunks