Swallows may be recognised internationally as a sign of summer, but in Britain, nothing signals the arrival of the season more clearly than a barbecue. We had our first one of the year on Sunday – and gave it a distinctly French twist, of course.
Well, maybe that should be a Mediterranean twist, though most of the recipes came from French chef Stéphane Reynaud’s aptly named cookbook Barbecue. Sad to say, the book has languished on the shelves all year.
The glorious weather meant we were able to get it out at long last – and we were able to have dinner outdoors. A double bonus, I’d say.
Gazpacho was the first course. I think it’s the perfect starter for a hot day. I had made it on Saturday, so the flavours had been able to develop for 36 hours before it was served. Delicious.
Pork fillets stuffed with pistachio pesto followed. This recipe brings together most of my favourite foods (minus chocolate) in one dish.
Damon prepared this by butterflying the fillets and then stuffing them with the homemade pistachio pesto. After they had been tied with string and chilled for a couple of hours, they were ready for the barbecue. Cooked over a gentle heat for 20 minutes, they were outstandingly good.
Barbecued fennel and some salted new potatoes proved the ideal accompaniment. Well, those and a bottle of the 2011 prestige cuvée from the Domain du Haut Pécharmant, which we had bought on a trip to the vineyard earlier this year.
“Pork fillets stuffed with pistachio pesto followed. This recipe brings together most of my favourite foods in one dish”
Finally, chocolate came in the form of a white chocolate and pink peppercorn ice cream I had made. The spice of the peppercorns complemented the sweet of the white chocolate perfectly.
If this is any indication of what summer has in store, I think it’s going to be a good one.