Celia Brooks explores the dizzying array of barbecue produce available at the Market
July marks the onset of the barbecue season and meat and fish lovers are spoilt for choice with the dizzying array of fresh cuts of top-quality meat, burgers and sausages available at the Market.
Naturally, you’ll find the best of British here, such as 45-day aged steak from The Ginger Pig, British lop pork chops from Northfield Farm, and Welsh wagyu beef burgers from The Exotic Meat Company, where they also make fresh burgers from imported exotic meats such as kangaroo, springbok, camel and many others to add some international kick to your menu.
Devon scallops from Shellseekers are perfect flashed over the coals, as are freshly landed fish and seafood such as sardines, monkfish, giant prawns or tuna steaks, available from Furness Fish and Game and Sussex Fish.
Non-meat eaters have some delectable options as well—just be sure to buy enough for veggies and non, because everybody will want some.
Slapped straight on the barbie
Halloumi cheese, or hellim, from The Turkish Deli (also a great source for barbecue-friendly salads and accompaniments such as tabbouli and hot pepper paste) is fantastic cut in thick slices and slapped straight on the barbie, especially if marinated first in a little oil whisked with aged balsamic, soy sauce and chilli.
A slab of very special ricotta from Gastronomica (try the Sicilian salata or smoked varieties) can be wrapped in foil with olive oil, thyme, garlic, chilli and star anise and roasted to unctuousness over the coals.
Mushrooms of any type love the barbecue treatment, especially flat field mushrooms and meaty king oyster mushrooms from Tartufaia—slice these thickly and marinate first in oil, salt, garlic and thyme, then cook until golden and striped with black.
Fresh asparagus is still going strong and charring it on a smoking grill is perhaps the best of all ways to cook it (brush in a little oil first). Fresh poblano chillies are also available now from Cool Chile Co, large, green, mild and full of complex savoury flavour way beyond any normal green pepper, these can be thrown on the grill whole and turned until blistered and soft.
A delicious perfume
Fresh herbs from Elsey & Bent are wonderful for adding a delicious perfume to your smoke: soak bunches of woody herbs such as thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage, oregano or bay in water for a few minutes, then lay directly on the coals until smouldering and cook your food over them.
Thick bay stems can also be used as skewers for threading meat, fish or vegetables—again, soak them first, strip the leaves and throw on the coals, then use the stems as skewers.
As for sauces, marinades and condiments, you’ll find the best at Borough: try Cool Chile Co’s chipotle ketchup for a hot, sweet, smoky injection, spice rubs such as raz-el-hanout from Spice Mountain, Punjabi chutneys and pickles from Temptings, or Wow-Wow mustard from Fitz Fine Foods, to name just a few. Just ask any of the knowledgeable traders what they recommend for your barbecue and they will help you tailor your menu perfectly. Fire it up and have a blast!