No great barbecue feast is complete without some fresh and indulgent sides.
On my barbecue menu, there are always some salads like a classic Caesar salad and creamy homemade potato salad. Grilled corn and fresh guacamole and chips also make an appearance, and the following recipes are also in heavy rotation.
Corn and Tomato Salad
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup English cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp toasted cumin powder or 1 tsp cumin seeds*
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a fry pan on medium-high heat, lightly saute the corn kernels in olive oil, for about 5 minutes.* Remove from heat and let it cool.
*If you don’t have toasted cumin powder on hand, then you can use cumin seeds. Add cumin seeds here when cooking the corn to help toast the seeds.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the cooked corn (if you’re using toasted cumin powder instead of cumin seeds, add the powder to this step), mixing well. When the corn has cooled, add this to the mix.
Cover and refrigerate. Served chilled or at room temperature. Serves about 4 people as a side.
1 large zucchini
2 large red bell pepper
2 red or white medium-sized onions
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil)
1 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Cut all the vegetables to 1-inch chunks. If using a large zucchini, split it lengthwise in half before chopping. For the onion, make sure to keep them in wedge-form and not separate the layers.
In a large bowl, lightly toss the vegetables with oil and seasonings. Using metal skewers*, place the vegetables in alternating patterns.
Cook on the barbecue grill on high heat (about 350F) for about 10 minutes, rotating the vegetables every few minutes. The vegetables are ready when they’re lightly charred and fork-tender.
*I prefer to use metal skewers instead of wooden skewers. There is much debate as to whether wooden skewers need to be soaked or not. In my experience, I have soaked the skewers and they’ve burned. It all depends on the thickness of the skewers. To make things easier, I invested in metal skewers. They’re reusable and non-flammable (but make sure to handle hot skewers with oven mitts or tongs).
Grilled “Baked” Potatoes
4 Russet potatoes, washed and well-scrubbed
If potatoes are different sizes, cut the potatoes into large chunky pieces so they match in size. Pierce potatoes with a fork. In a microwave-safe plate or bowl, cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until fork-tender.
To ready the potatoes for the grill, coat each potato with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap each potato in aluminum foil paper. Transfer wrapped potatoes to the barbecue grill on high heat (about 350F). Cook the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes, rotating them occasionally, until skins are browned and crispy.
Serve potatoes immediately with Roasted Garlic Compound Butter (see recipe below), sour cream and chives or your favourite shredded cheese.
Roasted Garlic Compound Butter
Compound butters are easy to make and are great accompaniments for grilled corn or baked potatoes. You’re basically whipping butter with your favourite ingredients of choice!
1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
4 cloves of roasted garlic*
1/2 tsp chilli paste or Sriracha or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)*
Salt and pepper to taste
Plastic food wrap, in which to wrap the butter
In a small bowl, mash the roasted garlic. Then add the rest of the ingredients and combine well using a spatula.
Transfer butter mixture into a small bowl, ramekin or container, cover well and chill. Keep leftover butter in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator.
*How to roast garlic: Take a fresh, whole head of garlic (you’ll know it’s fresh if the bulb paper is tightly sealed and not flaking off) and cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the top of the bulb. Lay the garlic head in a large square of aluminum foil paper. Lightly drizzle the garlic head with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tightly wrap the garlic head in the foil paper. Cook for about 25-30 minutes in the oven at 400F. You can make several batches at once — try a muffin pan to hold each individually-wrapped garlic heads. Store roasted garlic in an air-tight container in the fridge. It keeps for about a week.
Story By: Naveen Atwal | Photography By: Ruby Grewal