With midsummer approaching, many of those with access to an outdoor space will be firing up their barbecues of an evening. Although meat still dominates many people’s barbecue options, seafood can also be a tasty and healthy alternative, as the smoky flavours from the barbecue complement its delicate, briny essence.
When it comes to grilling, there is a wide range of seafood to explore, each offering unique tastes and textures. Options that are perfect for barbecues include lobster, salmon, shrimp, scallops and even oysters.
Lobster, with its succulent flesh and rich taste, is a luxurious choice for any barbecue. Grilling lobster enhances its natural sweetness and imparts a smoky, caramelised flavour. To prepare them for the grill, split them in half lengthwise, brush the flesh with olive oil or melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Place them on a preheated grill, flesh-side down, and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side. The lobster meat should be opaque and firm when done. Serve the grilled lobster with melted butter and lemon wedges for a truly indulgent treat.
Salmon, known for its rich, buttery taste is another superstar for barbecues, thanks to its high omega-3 content. Grilling salmon enhances its natural flavours and creates a delightful charred crust. Opt for fresh salmon fillets – either Atlantic or Pacific species will do nicely – preferably with the skin on, as they hold up well on the grill. Season the fillets with a blend of herbs, spices, or a marinade of your choice. Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates. Place the salmon on the grill, skin-side down, and cook for about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. The flesh should be flaky and slightly pink in the centre. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cooked salmon to brighten the flavours.
Meanwhile, shrimps are quick to cook and take on a delightful smokiness. They can be cooked on their own, or skewered with vegetables to make appetising seafood kebabs. Scallops, with their tender texture, grill beautifully and pair well with citrus-based marinades. Oysters, a delicacy more often eaten raw in Europe, can also be cooked on the grill, cup-side down, until they open and the edges curl, creating a unique smoky taste.
When grilling seafood, it’s essential to keep a few useful tips in mind. Make sure the grill grates are clean and well-oiled to prevent sticking. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water beforehand to prevent them burning. Also, be mindful of the cooking times, as seafood tends to cook quickly and can become dry if grilled for too long.
To sum up, seafood and barbecues can be a winning combination. Lobster and salmon are exceptional choices for grilling, bringing out their natural flavours and adding a smoky twist. However, it’s also well worth exploring a wide range of seafood – from shrimps, and scallops, to oysters and more.
Grilled lobster linguini with smoked spicy tomato sauce and anchovy butter – Serves: 4
Linguini with spicy smoked tomato sauce
1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 carrot, 1 half fennel bulb, 1 red chilli, 6 sun-dried tomatoes, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 200ml white wine, 70g tomato paste, 400g diced tomatoes, salt, 500g linguini, a handful of rocket leaves.
2 half UHP lobsters (www.pittmanchezvous.com), 80g unsalted farmhouse butter at room temperature, 4 anchovy fillets, black pepper, 2 sprigs of tarragon.
Linguini with spicy smoked tomato sauce
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Peel the carrot and cut it into small dice. Rinse and cut the fennel into small dice. Cut the chilli lengthwise to remove the seeds, then slice the chilli and sun-dried tomatoes into fine strips.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry for eight minutes over low heat. Add the finely chopped carrot, fennel, chilli and sun-dried tomatoes to the onion and garlic. Fry the vegetables for 10 minutes on low heat, until tender. Season with salt and smoked paprika.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce the volume by half. Add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the vegetables and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding a splash of water if the sauce becomes too thick. Blend the sauce until smooth and set aside. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta.
Finely chop the anchovy fillets and tarragon leaves. Blend into the butter and generously season with black pepper. Divide the anchovy butter equally and spread over the lobster flesh.
Prepare the barbecue for grilling. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain, reserving one ladle (or cup) of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the tomato sauce. Add the pasta water to the sauce and simmer for two minutes.
In the meantime, grill the lobsters for 5-7 minutes, flesh side up, with the barbecue lid closed. If your barbecue does not have a lid, grill the lobster a bit longer.
Serve the lobster on the pasta and finish with the rocket leaves.