barbecue recipes ben tish july

Seasonal July barbecue recipes from Ben Tish of Ember Yard

You can make fantastic food on a barbecue, be it in a country garden, on a tiny urban balcony or on a campsite. All you need is the simplest barbecue with a lid and some charcoal, and you can make everything from pizzas to ribs, desserts and even Sunday roasts.

At Ember Yard, chef director Ben Tish excels in creating stunning grilled, barbecued, smoked, charred and slow-roasted dishes that enhance the flavour of meat, fish and vegetables. Here are a couple of his favourite barbecue recipes with seasonal ingredients for July, for the next time you have friends over for an afternoon in the garden!


Both serve four

Chargrilled duck breast with peas, broad beans and hot mint sauce

Cooking this dish in early summer, when peas and beans are at their sweetest and most vibrant, is ideal; however, for convenience or out of season, you can use good-quality frozen peas and beans.

As well as adding extra flavour, brining the duck breast beforehand helps to keep it succulent. To get the skin nice and crisp, it’s best to score it and render the fat over a low heat, then you can ramp up the fire to cook the meat quickly so it stays pink. The hot mint sauce has an exotic North-African edge to it that works well with fatty meats—the acidity of the hot vinegar cuts through the richness.

For the duck:

  • 2 x 200g gressingham or barbary duck breasts
  • 1/2 quantity see method for ingredients
  • 70g fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 70g fresh or thawed frozen broad beans, outer skins removed
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

For the hot mint sauce:

  • 75ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch mint, stalks and leaves separated
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 50ml cabernet sauvignon vinegar or other red wine vinegar

Trim the duck breasts of any excess fat and sinew, then use a very sharp knife to lightly score the skin in a criss-cross pattern, without cutting into the flesh. Put in a non-reactive bowl, pour over the brine and refrigerate to cure for one hour.

For the hot mint sauce, place the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, mint stalks and the cumin and coriander seeds in a small, non-reactive saucepan and place over medium heat on the stovetop. When the garlic starts to turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the vinegar. Season well, then set aside for an hour or so to infuse.

If you are using fresh peas and beans, cook them in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Refresh in iced water, then drain.

Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking.

Remove the duck breasts from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the duck, skin-side down, on the grill in the indirect heat zone and throw a small handful of cherry wood chips onto the charcoal. Close the lid of the barbecue and cook the duck for 4 minutes to render some of the fat and lightly caramelise the skin.

Open the lid, transfer the duck to the direct cooking zone, throw another small handful of wood chips onto the charcoal and close the lid. Cook for 5–6 minutes, still skin-side down, then turn the duck breasts onto the flesh side and cook for 2 minutes or until cooked to medium (if you press your finger into the meat, it should bounce back); give it another 3–4 minutes if you want it well done. Move the duck to a warm spot to rest for 5 minutes.

Strain the infused mint sauce into a clean saucepan, then add the peas and broad beans and bring to the boil in the direct heat zone. Season the sauce well, throw in the mint leaves and remove from the heat as soon as the mint has wilted.

Spoon some of the peas and beans onto the plate, then thickly slice the duck breasts and place on top. Spoon over the rest of the peas and beans, drizzle over the hot mint sauce and serve.

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Cherry and almond tart

This tart is great fun to make—and once you’ve mastered it, you’ve got a really versatile base to work with, varying the fruits with the seasons. Cherry and almond is a classic match, though, and cries out for a glass of something sweet and strong to wash it down with, such as a frangelico or amaretto.

Sitting the tart on a soaked wooden plank to cook in the barbecue protects its base from burning.

For the pastry:

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tsp full-cream

For the filling:

  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 125g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 220g cherries, pitted
  • 125g ground almonds

Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl, then add the butter and rub to form rough crumbs. Add the egg and milk and mix to incorporate. Bring the dough together into a ball and dust lightly with flour, then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Bring the pastry back to room temperature before rolling it out.

Grease the tin or pan with butter and dust with flour, then put in the fridge to chill. Place a large sheet of baking paper on a work surface and dust with sugar, then sit the pastry on top and cover with another sheet of baking paper.

Roll out the pastry between the two sheets of paper to a thickness of about 3mm and with a circumference large enough to line the tin with some overhang. Carefully transfer the pastry to the tin. Don’t worry about any small holes or tears—just patch them up as best you can with a little of the excess overhanging pastry.

Press the pastry into the base and sides of the tin, then prick the base all over with a fork. Cover the tart shell with a crumpled sheet of baking paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Make a frangipane by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (either using an electric mixer or by hand), then beat in the eggs one by one. Finally, fold in the flour and almonds until fully incorporated.

Fill the lined tart shell with baking beans or uncooked rice, then blind bake for 10–15 minutes, or until the base and sides are cooked and crisp but still pale. Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking. Place the lump of wood to the side of the charcoal to start smoking. (You want the temperature inside the barbecue to be about 180–190°C; regulate with the vents and lid during the baking time, if needed.)

Remove the tart shell from the oven, take out the paper and beans or rice and leave to cool for 10 minutes before cutting away the crust overhang with a small knife. Spoon the frangipane into the tart shell and dot the cherries on top.

Wrap the base and sides of the tin in a double layer of foil to help buffer the fierce heat rising from the coals. Sit the tart on the plank, then transfer to the indirect heat zone and close the lid of the barbecue. Cook the tart for 35–40 minutes or until the crust has browned, the frangipane has just set (a skewer inserted in the centre should come out fairly clean) and the cherries have started to bleed their juices.

Remove the tart from the barbecue and leave to cool for an hour before serving.

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