Barbequed brochette of prawns, squid and courgette with sauce vierge
A stunning recipe from Bruce Poole's cookbook Bruce's Cookbook that shows barbeques don't have to be all about burgers and ribs.
Bruce's restaurant Chez Bruce in Wandsworth in south London, is a place where chefs - and food writers - like to go when they're off-duty. This is one of the simpler recipes in the book which by and large isn't one of those 'quick'n'easy' volumes but a serious collection of recipes for people who want to turn out Michelin-standard - but not fiddly - food. A must-buy for any cookbook collector.
Serves 4 as a main course or more in smaller form as part of a bigger barbecue offering
2 large courgettes, topped and tailed
8 fresh baby squid, each one no longer than 10cm, cleaned by the fishmonger
12 large, raw prawns, thawed if frozen
For the sauce vierge
6 large ripe plum tomatoes, blanched and skinned
2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
your best olive oil
1 small bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn
Light the barbecue. Slice the courgettes lengthways on a mandolin into thin, 2mm-thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and leave to disgorge in a colander for half an hour or so.
To make the sauce vierge, separate the tomato flesh from the seeds and pulp and discard the latter. Cut the flesh into neat 1cm dice and combine with the shallots in a mixing bowl. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Leave for 15 minutes to encourage the salt to get to work with the toms. Add a good slug of olive oil and the torn basil. Adjust the seasoning and reserve at room temperature.
Dry the courgettes on absorbent kitchen paper and roll them up into tight coils. Fold each squid in half. Thread the folded squid, the courgette coils and the prawns on to the skewers evenly. Don’t worry unduly if there is an uneven number of courgettes.
Season the brochettes with salt and pepper just prior to grilling. Place them without any oil on to the barbecue and cook until pleasantly charred all over – about 5 minutes in total. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice. Serve with the sauce vierge and perhaps some couscous, or a cold rice or pasta salad.
What to drink: Plenty of possibilities - a crisp, elegant Sauvignon Blanc, an Albario or a dry Italian white like a Vermentino would all be good. Or - and I suspect Bruce might well go for this himself - a bone dry Alsace grand cru Riesling.
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