Time to buff the barbecue

We recommend grilling red snapper, which is the most popular of the 250 or so varieties of snapper.

March 23, 2008 | | Back Issues | Departments | Food | Spring 2008 | The Country Cook

BBQ Fish, tarts and green beans. Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

BBQ Fish, tarts and green beans. Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

With spring around the corner, grill aficionados will be buffing their barbecues in preparation for long-awaited outdoor meals. To satisfy them, we have prepared a delicious snapper with Asian-style beans.

Though green beans will do, we suggest you try planting an oriental long bean variety in the garden this season. We opt for the 26-inch variety, which is hardy in our cool climate. The pods can be fried, added to soups, salads and stews or steamed with garlic and butter. Our bean recipe is served at room temperature, so it may be prepared hours ahead, adding seeds and nuts at the last minute so they retain their firmness. To accompany this dish, try some buttered homemade pasta or Chinese cellophane noodles.

Firm, white fish is especially delicious grilled since the high heat seals in tenderness. Monkfish or bass also do well on the barbecue. Sea bass is a term that includes a variety of saltwater fish, many of which are not in the bass family per se.

We recommend grilling red snapper, which is the most popular of the 25o or so varieties of snapper. The firm flesh contains little fat, and the larger fish can be purchased as steaks. The summer months are its peak season, but if it is unavailable, monkfish (also known as angler fish) may be substituted. It has a sweet flavour and texture not unlike lobster, making it an excellent alternative.

We begin our repast with roasted vegetable tarts in a cheese and breadcrumb shell. You can add some cooked streaky bacon or prosciutto, and try substituting rosemary or basil for the parsley.

The lemon curd cake for dessert is a gorgeous yellow colour with a refreshing citrus taste offset by the icing. Remember to roll the lemons before juicing for a higher juice yield.

Ricotta and Red Pepper Tarts

  • 2/3 c / 16o ml breadcrumbs
  • (+ 1 tbsp / 15 ml to dust tins)
  • 2 tbsp / 3o ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, cut in thin, 1″ strips
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 c / 25o ml diced eggplant
  • 2/3 c / 16o ml Parmesan Reggianno (+ 2 tbsp /3o ml to dust tart tops)
  • 2/3 c / 16o ml cheddar
  • 1-1/2 tubs / 75o ml ricotta
  • 2 tbsp / 3o ml chopped parsley

Grease 8 tart tins (3″ x 1″). Preheat oven to 35o°F. Lightly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs over the bottom and sides of each tin. On a baking sheet, toss the oil, red pepper, zucchini, eggplant, salt, pepper and garlic. Bake for 2o minutes, or until soft. Stir in the parsley. Turn ricotta out into a sieve and drain excess liquid. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan and cheddar with the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Press into the tins. Fill each tin with the vegetable mixture. Dust with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 2o minutes, or until tarts are golden around the edges. Remove from tins and serve. Serves 8.

Asian-Style Green Beans

  • 1/2 lb / 225 gm fresh green beans
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml soy sauce
  • 1 tsp / 5 ml rice vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 c / 62 ml toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 c / 125 ml toasted peanuts

Preheat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the oil and when hot, toss in the green beans. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. Stir in with the beans. Place in a serving bowl to cool, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and peanuts. Serve at room temperature. Serves 8.

Lemon Curd Cake. Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

Lemon Curd Cake. Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

Lemon Curd Cake

  • 3/4 c / 185 ml unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c / 185 ml sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 c / 375 ml pastry flour
  • 2 tsp / 1o ml baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp / 1 ml tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp / 1 ml tsp salt
  • grated peel of two lemons
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml lemon juice
  • melted lard

Brush melted lard on the bottom and sides of two 8″ circular pans. Cut two rounds of parchment paper to line the pan bottoms, and brush again with lard. Dust with flour and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix on high for one minute. Add the lemon juice and mix for 3o seconds. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat in to the liquid mixture. Pour the batter into the two pans and bake at 36o°F for 25 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Turn out immediately onto racks. To assemble, spread lemon curd on one cake and top that with half of the lemon icing. Place other cake half on top and spread it with the remaining icing. If desired, decorate with candied lemon peel or drizzle a design with granulated sugar mixed with lemon juice to a jelly-like consistency. Serves 8.

Lemon Curd

 

  • 1-1/2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 3/4 c / 185 ml sugar
  • 1/2 c / 125 ml unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs

Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the zest, juice and  eggs and combine thoroughly. Heat gently in a small saucepan for 1o to 15 minutes, stirring often until thick. Refrigerate.

Lemon Icing

  • 4 tbsp / 6o ml butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 c / 33o ml icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml lemon juice
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon

While cake is cooling, beat the butter and icing sugar together with the lemon rind. Add enough of the lemon juice to provide a spreading consistency.

 

About the Author More by Sandra Cranston-Corradini

Sandra Cranston-Corradini is the proprietor of the Cranston-Corradini School of Cooking.

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