a barbeque worth its salt

bbq lamb cutlets with cumin and smoked paprika salt

When it comes to quick, healthy, tasty mid week meals, it’s hard to go past the good old Aussie barbeque. A bit of protein in the form of either meat or fish or even that delightfully squeaky cheese, haloumi, given a quick char on the barbie and served with a simple salad, possibly some bread and definitely a glass of your favourite vino and you’re talking summer evening bliss.

While I love a good marinade or a sauce to boost flavour and keep things interesting, sometimes there just isn’t time to be messing around with such things. And this is where my latest discovery of spiced sea salt comes into play.

All it takes the time required to locate the spices from your ever expanding collection and a few seconds to whirl them all together and then you have just the thing to pack a flavour punch. Sprinkled on before you cook and then served at the table for everyone to spice things to their own taste and trust me, you’ll be looking for any excuse to pull out the bbq tongs… all good things.
bbq lamb cutlets with cumin and smoked paprika salt
serves 4

Inspired by the talented Sam & Sam Clarke of the London restaurant Moro.

While they aren’t cheap, lamb cutlets are such a great meat for BBQing as they only take a few minutes to cook and come with a built in handle. The cumin paprika salt could be used pretty much anywhere you want a hit of spice.

The most important part of this recipe, apart from using fresh spices, is to source good quality sea salt flakes. If all you have on hand is normal finely ground table salt, I’d reduce the amount of salt in the mix down to 1 teaspoon and taste and add a little more if you think it needs it.

Of course if you want some heat, you could always substitute in some hot paprika or play with fire with a little chilli powder or cayenne pepper, the spice is in your hands really.

16 lamb cutlets, trimmed of excess fat
50g butter, melted
for the cumin paprika salt:
2T ground cumin
2T smoked sweet paprika
2T sea salt flakes
4 lemon cheeks, to serve

Remove the lamb from the fridge to allow to come up to room temperature. Preheat your BBQ or a char grilling pan. Meanwhile combine the salt ingredients.

When the BBQ is hot brush one side of the lamb lightly with melted butter and sprinkle over a little of the spiced salt. BBQ spiced side down over a medium high heat then brush the other side with butter and sprinkle with spices and BBQ the remaining side for a few minutes or until cooked to your liking. Allow lamb to rest for a few minutes in a warm place before serving with lemon cheeks and a small dish of extra spiced salt.

red capsicum & almond salad
serves 4

Inspired by yet another delicious meal at one of my favourite Italian joints Vini in Surry Hills.

This simple salad makes a star out of sweet roast capsicum (peppers) and it works really well as a side dish to the BBQ lamb above but it was also a lovely side to the pork & veal lasagna we had a Vini recently.  If you wanted to give it more of a Moroccan vibe you could sprinkle over some finely chopped preserved lemons and possibly substitute the parsley with coriander leaves.

4 red capsicum, charred, peeled & deseeded
2T extra virgin olive oil
1T balsamic vinegar
few sprigs flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
handful whole almonds, roasted

Tear peeled capsicum into rough strips and scatter over a serving platter. Combine oil and balsamic and season and drizzle over the capsicum before topping with parsley and almonds. Allow to stand for a few minutes or up to a couple of hours before serving.

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