Don’t let the protein hog the spotlight…
“Open-flame cooking enhances the flavour of fruits and vegetables by concentrating and caramelising their natural sugars,” says Judith Fertig, co-author of 300 Big and Bold Barbecue and Grilling Recipes. Give fruits and veggies a very light brush of oil, then stick them on the braai over medium to high heat, turning as soon as grid marks appear. Cook for no more than five minutes total to help them retain their natural texture.
Try the following prep techniques:
1. Tomatoes, mangos, melons, peaches, pineapples, plums, portobello mushrooms, nectarines and red peppers
Keep them big – halves or large chunks – to keep them from falling through the grid.
2. Eggplant, squash and baby marrow
Slice lengthwise; round cuts are far more likely to drop down.
Husk on or off? Fertig is a fan of naked mealies on the braai because, she says, you get more of that delicious charred taste when the kernels have direct access to heat.
Larger spears can sit right across the grid. To keep thinner spears from plummeting to a fiery death, place them in a perforated foil pan.
5. Button mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, fennel, garlic, onions and strawberries
These need help staying above the flame. Always cook on skewers or wrapped in foil.
Cut hearts of romaine in quarters lengthwise, then brush the cut side with oil and season with salt. Braai over medium-high heat until you have good grid marks (two to three minutes).
Braai a bunch of slightly oiled grapes still on the stems for three to five minutes, turning once.
Place whole eggs directly on the grid over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes (or until the shell has browned lightly all over). Remove the shell, chop the egg and serve over the braaied lettuce.
Strip back one section of the peel, leaving it attached. Cut a slit lengthwise and stuff with pieces of dark chocolate. Replace the peel and wrap the banana in foil. Braai for 10 minutes, flipping once. Carefully open the packets and scoop out the chocolaty flesh with a spoon.
Slice very firm tofu crosswise into two-centimetre slabs. Push two soaked skewers through each slice and brush with olive oil. Braai for four to six minutes per side. You can use any meat marinade or rub for tofu.
Coat both sides of the dough with olive oil and braai directly over medium-high heat until the top bubbles and you have grid marks underneath (about three minutes). Turn over and quickly add toppings. Move to a cooler side of the grid, close the lid if you’re using a Weber and braai until cheese has melted.