Nothing says ‘summer’ like a barbecue. Someone thinking they’re Gordon Ramsay just because they’ve got a big fork, smoky food, and cold drinks are all essential ingredients for a perfect summer afternoon, whether you’re soaking up the sun in a luxurious villa or keeping it simple in your own back garden.
Don’t be scared off by fans of American BBQ and its complex preparations, long cooking times and elaborate sauces – not everyone wants to dig a fire pit or spend a week bathing a pig in frankincense. And why would you, when it’s so easy to whip up impressive barbecue dishes in minutes? Here are some of our best BBQ recipes – all guaranteed fuss-free.
Moules marinières en papillote
Mussels are now readily available all year round, and their natural moisture makes them perfect for the barbecue. ‘En papillote’ traditionally means cooked in a parchment paper bag, but tinfoil works perfectly for a BBQ – as well as avoiding the possibility of cross-contamination, so you can have meat and seafood on the same grill. Soak your mussels in several changes of water, then carefully pull off their ‘beards’ and remove any limpets with a stiff brush. Discard any that are open. Next, place the mussels in the middle of a large square of aluminium foil and add chopped garlic, parsley, black pepper and a little white wine, before sealing the parcel TIGHTLY and popping it onto your BBQ. The mussels will be perfectly steamed in 5-8 minutes – when they’ve opened up, they’re ready.
Easy Cajun pork
The cuisine of the American Deep South is rich, spicy and perfect for a summer BBQ, and this all-purpose Cajun rub will give any dish that Louisiana flavour. Combine a tablespoon each of dried oregano, dried thyme, flaked salt, crushed black pepper and unsmoked paprika with a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and white sugar. If you like your food with a real kick, increase the quantities of garlic, paprika and cayenne. Try it on classic cuts like pork chop or tenderloin, or sprinkle onto a burger to wake up your guests! Combining the dry rub with oil and a little soy sauce makes a great marinade that really works its way into the meat.
Chicken and halloumi kebabs
These Greek-inspired treats are a favourite with kids and adults alike, and they’re so easy to make. Take four skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut them into cubes and place them in a marinade of one part red wine vinegar to two parts olive oil, with some salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and maybe a little honey. Leave them in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple of hours, then remove and thread them onto wooden or metal skewers with chunks of red or yellow pepper, small pieces of aubergine and cubes of halloumi cheese cut to the same size as the chicken. Make sure you’ve oiled the grill of your barbecue, then put the kebabs on for just a few minutes (sneak one off and check the chicken’s cooked through before you serve). Pitta bread, hummus and a crisp salad make a perfect accompaniment.
Corn on the cob with chilli-lime butter
Vegetarian options at a BBQ are often limited to a choice of salad or salad, but there’s no reason the grill can’t produce great veggie food too. For perfect corn on the cob, try to find ears with their leaves intact – this helps them to steam rather than burn, letting the kernels grow soft before they char. Give the corn half an hour on the grill before peeling the leaves back and basting with chilli-lime butter; for this, simply put chopped chillies, lime juice and butter in a small pan on the edge of the BBQ, taking care it doesn’t boil or burn. Another ten minutes should have the corn nicely blackened without tasting burnt – pour over any remaining butter when you take it off the grill, and remember to provide napkins!
Couscous is a lovely light alternative to bread or potatoes, and you can pack it with flavour in no time at all. Pour boiling chicken or vegetable stock into your bowl of dry couscous (check the packet for proportions, but around 400g couscous to 500ml stock works well), then stir in a few tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of two lemons, flaked sea salt and a heavy grind of black pepper. Next, cover the couscous tightly and leave it to absorb the stock for ten minutes. In this time, deseed a large pomegranate (roll it between your hand and the table to loosen the seeds) and roughly chop a handful of coriander leaves, perhaps with some mint. Break the couscous up with a fork, let it cool and serve with the seeds and herbs mixed in.
Now your summer menu’s sorted, all you need is somewhere to stay! Take a look at our list of destinations to explore the amazing range of properties available with James Villa Holidays.
Villas in The Balearic Islands
We can take you to lively resorts, ideal for families, secret sandy coves accessible only by boat and pretty working fishing harbours and markets from the middle ages.