Come rain or shine, many of us are going to be eating outside with a few friends this weekend. Just because we can, which is finally something to celebrate. And whenever I think about eating outside, I think of food with stripes. Not only do those charred lines look great in and of themselves, they also conjure up all the barbecues, picnics and good times to be had outdoors. So it’s time to heat up that griddle pan, set the table (or lay out the picnic rug) and find the spring in our collective step.
Grilled carrots with red onion pickle and coriander yoghurt (pictured top)
These quantities will make more spice mix and a bit more onion pickle than you need, but the pickle keeps well in the fridge for at least a week and is great piled into a sandwich, while the excess spice mix can be kept in a jar for sprinkling on leafy salads or to liven up dips.
Prep 20 min
Cook 35 min
For the carrots
600g medium carrots, scrubbed but not peeled, tops removed and cut in half lengthways
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
For the onion pickle
1 red onion (80g), peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced, to get 2 tbsp
For the spice mix
½ tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
½ tsp sugar
For the coriander yoghurt
80g coriander, 1½ tbsp (5g) leaves picked, to serve, the rest roughly chopped
150g Greek-style yoghurt
2 green chillies (20g), roughly chopped, seeds and pith removed and discarded if you prefer less heat
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 lemon, juiced, to get 2 tbsp
Put a litre and a half of cold water in a large saucepan, add a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil on a high heat. Drop in the carrots, turn down the heat to medium-high and cook for about six minutes, until they are part cooked but still firm. Drain, return to the saucepan, stir in the oil, maple syrup and half a teaspoon of salt, then set aside
In a small, non-reactive bowl, mix the sliced onion with the lemon juice and a quarter-teaspoon of salt and set aside.
Set a small frying pan over a medium heat, then toast the cumin and coriander for about two minutes, stirring them frequently, until very fragrant. Leave to cool, then transfer to a mortar or spice grinder, and add the sesame seeds, sugar and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Roughly grind so that some of the sesame seeds are broken and the rest remain whole, then transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Put all the ingredients for the coriander yoghurt, bar the picked leaves, in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until almost smooth but with lots of green flecks throughout.
Put a griddle pan on a high heat and, once it’s very hot, grill the carrots for five or six minutes, turning them once halfway and basting with the marinade from the pan, until they have deep scorch marks on both sides.
Spoon three-quarters of the coriander yoghurt on a platter and put the rest in a small bowl. Arrange the carrots on top of the yoghurt, then scatter over half the pickled onions, half the spice mixture and the picked coriander leaves. Serve the remaining yoghurt, onions and spice mix in bowls on the side, or save them for another use.
Grilled courgettes with cascabel honey
Do try the cascabel honey in other dishes. It’s gorgeous drizzled over a flatbread spread with ricotta, for example, or on mozzarella or burrata; it’s also great in a marinade for roast vegetables. And if you can’t get hold of cascabels, use an ancho chilli, torn in half, instead.
Prep 15 min
Cook 30 min
For the cascabel honey
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 red chillies
2 limes, 1 cut in half, the other cut into wedges, to serve
2 cascabel chillies (or 1 ancho chilli, torn in half)
150g runny honey
For the courgettes
4 small courgettes (550g), ideally a mixture of yellow and green ones, cut on an angle into 1½cm-wide x 8cm-long slices
5 tbsp olive oil (75ml)
3 tbsp picked fresh oregano leaves (5g)
100g feta, thinly sliced widthways
2 spring onions, thinly sliced into matchsticks
Set a griddle pan on a high heat. Once it’s very hot, lay in the garlic, red chillies and lime halves cut side down, and grill for three minutes. Turn everything over, add the cascabel chillies to the pan, and grill for another two minutes, turning the cascabels once halfway, until everything is nicely charred. Cut the red chillies lengthways into quarters, then put in a medium saucepan with the charred garlic, limes and cascabels. Pour the honey into the pan and cook on a medium heat for about three minutes, until the honey loosens and begins to bubble. Use tongs to squeeze the juices out of the cascabel chillies and lime halves and into the mix, then take off the heat, stir in a small pinch of salt and leave to infuse while you grill the courgettes, or even overnight.
Put the courgette slices in a bowl with two tablespoons of oil and a half-teaspoon of salt. Mix to coat, then grill the courgettes in three or four batches for three or four minutes on each side, until they have clear grill marks. Transfer to a plate, season with a little more salt, then repeat with the rest of the courgettes.
Heat the remaining three tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan and, once it’s hot, fry the oregano leaves for just 30-40 seconds, until they turn bright green and crisp. Strain through a heatproof sieve set over a heatproof bowl, and set aside.
Arrange the courgettes on a platter, then drizzle over half the honey. Put the rest, including the garlic and cascabel seeds, in a small bowl, set aside the chilli flesh and discard the lime halves.
Spoon the chillies evenly over the courgettes, then top with the feta. Squeeze over one of the fresh lime wedges, and top with the spring onions, crisp oregano leaves and a drizzle of the strained oil. Serve at room temperature with the reserved honey, extra oregano oil (save any you don’t use for another dish) and lime wedges for squeezing over.