BBQ season with grilled harisa chicken and grilled peaches

I do believe that by now the barbecue season reached us all. Today I am going to share some recipes for the barbecue season. Surely in Spain it does start a bit earlier and we did grill couple of times till now already. There is no need to explain why barbecue season is so great. I love it mostly because this is my opportunity to experiment, create new recipes and try some new trends and classics. There are some basics I always do follow, anyhow the outcome is most of the time quite all depends on what our refrigerator would offer and my mood on the spices and herbs the moment I do prepare the meat. I always go easy when preparing the food for the barbecue, most of which can be prepared in advanced. In my opinion barbecue parties are the best, if you are expecting a bigger crowd to come over... it is less formal, it is outside at the fresh air and you would not spend days in the kitchen to prepare the food to "wow your guests.

My barbecue menu would always include some marinade meat, fresh salad, some antipasti for starter and a simple dessert. Meat, antipasti and dessert are the things you can always do in advanced, so finally only whats left for the special day is the preparation of the fresh salad, which shall also remain rather simple as the star of the menu shall always be the meat. If we expecting other people to come over, I always would mix the menu with some store bought grill sausages or meat, some oven roasted potatoes and for dessert some additional fresh seasonal fruits. It does certainly save some time in the kitchen and nobody will leave hungry.
My barbecue menu for today: Harisa yogurt marinade chicken, grilled vegetables antipasti, fresh figs and avocado salad and grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream and homemade amarettini cookies.
Harisa yogurt chicken
  • 2 chicken breast
  • 1-2 teaspoons harisa paste (depends how spicy you like it to be)
  • 3 tablespoons natural yogurt ( I usually use Greek yogurt)
  • fresh thyme or any other herbs
  • some smoked paprika
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  • 1 glove garlic (optional)
Cut the chicken breast in half's and season it with some salt and pepper. Take a plastic bag and put in some of the olive oil, harisa, yogurt, fresh herbs, smoked paprika, some salt and pepper add the chicken slices. Close the bag and start to shake it so all spices are well combined and chicken breast are all covered. Put the bag into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (best over night) so the meat can marinade and get spicy and tender.
Fresh figs and avocado salad
  • 2-3 fresh figs
  • 1 avocado
  • hand full cherry tomatoes
  • fresh cheese - such as Burgos cheese
  • lemon
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and olive oil
Half the cherry tomatoes, cut the figs in slices and avocado and fresh cheese in cubes. Place some of the tomatoes on a serving plate and sprinkle with some salt. Put the avocado cubes on top and sprinkle with some lemon juice. Distribute the figs and cheese cubes on top. Give  good splash olive oil and some of the balsamic veinegar over the salad.

Grilled vegetables antipasti

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 bell paprika
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C and put it on grill function. Line the baking sheet with baking paper and sprinkle some olive oil over it. Cut the eggplant and courgette in slices and quarter the bell paprika. Put the vegetable slices on the baking sheet season with some salt and pepper and give another good splash of olive oil over it. Grill for 20-25 minutes.

  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 gloves garlic
  • lemon juice of half of a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh thyme
In a bowl whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Press the garlic through the garlic press, chop the herbs and mix it all into the oil-vinegar mixture. 
Take the dish you will stack the vegetables in, pour in 1-2 tablespoons of the marinade and put some of the vegetables slices on top, pour some of the marinade over the veggies. Continue till all vegetables are used. Always finish with the marinade. Let the antipasti rest for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving (best overnight). The antipasti can be stored in the refrigerator for more than a week, just make sure they are covered with the marinade.
Stack the antipasti in a jar and it will makes a perfect present for your friends for the next BBQ party or italian themed dinner.
This antipasti can be served as a starter on a fresh baguette bread slice, or as a side dish for grilled meat. Any leftovers will pep up your ordinary sandwich you might prepare for the next picnic and is it delicious with fresh cooked pasta for lunch.
Amarettini cookies
  • 1 egg white
  • 75 g sugar
  • 85 g ground almonds
  • some drops of almond aroma
  • powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. Whisk the egg white with sugar till soft peaks start to form. Add ground almonds and almond aroma (or Amaretto liquor). Mix till all well combined. With 2 teaspoons or wet hands from small dough balls and place them on the baking sheet line with baking paper. If the dough is bit too runny you can also pipe it on the baking sheet. Sprinkle plenty of powdered sugar over the cookies and bake for about 15 min.

Grilled peaches
  • fresh peaches (or nectarines)
  • some butter room temperature
  • vanilla sugar
Cut the peaches in half, take away the stone. Spread some of the butter on the half's and sprinkle vanilla sugar over it. Grill cuts down on the grill till browned and caramelised. Serve hot with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream and amarettini cookie crumbles (you can also use store bought amarettini cookies, works as good as homemade).