Chuck Another Veggie on the Barbie, Mate!


Before you read any further, let’s clear up any potential confusion. To all my non-Australian readers: ‘Barbie’ does not refer to the ubiquitous doll of the same name, nor to Klaus Barbie, the infamous Nazi war criminal.

The Barbie (note the capitalisation) is one of the most revered Australian icons, along with a Hills Hoist, Beer, Thongs and Vegemite.

Yes, the Barbie is a barbecue, or BBQ for all you USA residents. For those that spend a moment to reflect, it’s the ultimate crematorium for tens of thousands of poor animals.

So what’s a vegetarian to do when he’s invited to a Barbie? Well, just yesterday, (since I’ve only got 2 weeks left here in Perth) I was invited to a farewell Barbie by some friends.

There are, in fact, many nice vegetarian Barbie options. I sent these recipes ahead for my hosts to buy the ingredients. They’ve even purchased a brand new Weber just for the occasion. Here are those recipes:


Barbecued Haloumi and Char-grilled Asparagus with Salsa Verde

Salsa verde simply means green sauce – there are hundreds of versions. This one, smothered over slabs of barbecued haloumi cheese and grilled juicy asparagus, is made from the “big three” –  parsley, mint and basil. It’s perked up with a smattering of capers. Serves 4 as an entree.

16 spears of asparagus, about 2 bunches, trimmed
4 bamboo skewers, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
400g (14 ounces) haloumi cheese, thickly sliced
olive oil

Salsa Verde
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
cup mint leaves, finely chopped
cup basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed drained and chopped
teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
2/3 cup olive oil
cup lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the salsa verde ingredients in a bowl.

Thread 4 asparagus spears onto each skewer.

Brush the asparagus and haloumi generously with olive oil.

Barbecue the asparagus for 2 minutes each side, or until just tender.

Barbecue the haloumi on a hot plate for 2 minutes each side, or until golden.

Serve: slide the asparagus off its skewers, place a large spoonful of salsa verde onto 4 plates and top with asparagus and haloumi. Pass the remaining salsa separately.


Trio of Roasted, Grilled & Barbecued Vegetables

Potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are all suitable for oven roasting, grilling or barbecuing over hot coals, either directly or wrapped in foil. Whichever way you choose, the accompanying pesto, salsa and chutney transform these earthy vegetables into something very special.


Idaho Potatoes with Parsley Pesto

Parley pesto is nutty, green and luscious – a perfect foil for creamy hot potato.

1 cup flat-leaf parsley
teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
cup toasted almonds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 kilo (2 pounds) Idaho baking potatoes, roasted, grilled or barbecued

Combine all the pesto ingredients except the oil in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil. When well amalgamated, remove and serve. Add a few drops of water if the mixture is too thick.

Serve with the roasted potatoes. Serves 4.

fresh parsley:

Pumpkin with Mango Salsa

A brilliantly zesty accompaniment featuring sweet, sour, hot and aromatic flavours.

1 large ripe mango cut into small cubes
cup diced, unpeeled cucumber
teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon finely shredded fresh red chilies
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 kilo (2 pounds) pumpkin pieces, trimmed and cut into suitable chunks, roasted, grilled or barbecued

Combine all the salsa ingredients and allow flavours to combine for a few minutes.

Serve with the roasted pumpkins. Serves 4.


White Sweet Potato with Fresh Corn Chutney

The brilliant corn chutney has become one of my favourites. It marries perfectly with sweet potato, its South American partner from ages past. Best consumed the day it’s made.

2 cups cooked fresh corn kernels, or 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cups firmly packed coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
cup packed fresh mint
1 small hot green chili, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 large lime
little water if needed
1 kilo (2 pounds) scrubbed un-peeled white sweet potatoes, roasted, grilled or barbecued

Process all the chutney ingredients in a food processor, pulsing on and off until the mixture is slightly chunky and loose textured. Add a little water if the mixture is too firm. Remove.

Serve immediately with the sweet potato, or cover and refrigerate. Serves 4.

Posted by Kurma on 6/1/08; 12:17:11 PM

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