You never know what you might have to wear at a British barbecue. It could be T shirt weather, or you might find yourself pulling on a pair of woollen tights and a full length Gabardine coat. Having enjoyed great weather all week, we fired up the barbecue on Sunday, but everyone was shivering so much outside that we ate indoors. There were blankets and hot whisky handy for those who needed it. No matter. In England we somehow have to be grateful that it isn’t snowing in June.
When it comes to barbecuing fish, I find doing whole fish a bit less fiddly than fillets, as they hold together better. Even better if you have a barbecue ‘basket’ to hold them in – no worries about bits falling off when you flip them over. Trout is a winner here – it’s a great vehicle for all sorts of spicy marinades, and you can feel super smug about eating it because it’s a really sustainable fish, not to mention really affordable. My days of frittering £8 per tuna steak are long behind me. Also, I was at a pub barbecue on Saturday and felt a bit grossed out at the sight of their barbecued Kingfish steaks, probably shipped frozen all the way from the tropics and tasting not so fresh. Buy British, ok? Trout are as British as Tweed and Marmite. (Unless, as some smart-arse is probably going to point out, they are fished from abroad!)
Here are the handsome trout chaps, awaiting their spicy doom:
Serves 4 – 5
You will need:
4 trout, whole, gutted and cleaned
3 thumbs of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Good handful of fresh coriander root roughly chopped (supermarkets sell only the stalks in their herb bags; if you can get a bunch of coriander from an Asian grocery shop, the roots will be attached. No matter if you can’t, just use the coriander stalks as they still contain a lot of flavour)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 red birdseye chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cardamom pods
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
4 tbsp full fat natural yoghurt (I use Total Greek yoghurt)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper (or black pepper)
1. First, de-scale the fish and give them a good rinse under the tap, as trout can be a bit slimy. Then cut 3 slashes in the fish flesh on both sides.
2. Dry fry the whole spices quickly – toast the coriander and cumin seeds and cardamom pods until they smell nutty. Then pound them to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar. (Remove the cardamom pod skins first and extract the black seeds)
3. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste:
4. Smother the trout in the marinade, making sure you massage the paste into the cuts in the flesh.
5. Barbecue for about 5 minutes on each side, until the skin has nice charred bits.
Serve with a nice cucumber and mint yoghurt raita, and rice mixed with slow-cooked onions, nigella seeds and chopped coriander:
The tandoori marinade would also work really well on salmon, any firm white-fleshed fish and chicken.