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FIRST BITE

REINVENT YOUR BARBECUE

At his London restaurant Berber & Q, chef Josh Katz is known for open-fire cookery and punchy Middle Eastern flavours. Now you can recreate it at home…

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“The recipes in this book range from quite simple, to advanced techniques for barbecue enthusiasts: there’s something for everyone”

 

“The food at Berber & Q is a fusion of my two culinary passions: open-fire cookery, and the flavours of the Middle East, the Levant and North Africa. The food from these regions is bold and punchy: there’s nothing too subtle or delicate, which appeals to my palate. Our menu is inspired by dishes from Morocco across to Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, as well as my own Western heritage, and an appreciation for American barbecue culture.

“I’ve always wanted to write a cookbook, and it felt like the right time to tell the story of Berber & Q. For me, everything tastes better when it’s cooked over charcoal. It brings an extra dimension to a dish, providing a charred smokiness that you just can’t achieve in a conventional oven. I want to show that barbecuing doesn’t have to be intimidating. It strips us right back to a basic, primordial way of cooking that’s so enjoyable and delicious.

“Start your grill with the right set-up. Always build a bed of coals to one side of the barbecue, so you can create different temperature zones, and keep an area free to rest your meat. Before you cook, wait for the coals to burn down to a lovely bed of glowing embers, and try to avoid cooking over the direct flames – this leaves black residue that taints food with an acrid taste.

“It’s worth investing in the right kit, too. The Weber 57cm Master Touch Barbecue from M&S is perfect for beginners, and works for almost all the recipes in the book. Not only does it have space for a big bed of coals to cook directly over, but you can also turn it into an oven by barbecuing with the lid on, enabling you to cook larger joints, low and slow. It’s excellent value, too.”

Berber & Q: The Cookbook by Josh Katz is out now, published by Ebury (£25)

 

 

Barbecued roasted rib-eye

“With a cut like rib-eye, be sure to rest the meat properly to give it a chance to relax. As a rule of thumb, aim for a resting time of half its cooking time – in this case, around 20 minutes”

Serves 3-4

Ingredients
For the cumin butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp ground cumin
1½ tsp sweet paprika
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp grated lemon zest

For the rib-eye
1 rib-eye steak, bone-in, weighing approximately 2.5kg
Olive oil, for brushing
Flaky sea salt and black pepper

Pickled red onions and grilled green Turkish chillies, to serve (optional)

To make the cumin butter, mix all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Roll into a Clingfilm-wrapped sausage and set aside in the fridge to solidify.

Stand the rib-eye at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Brush with olive oil on both sides and season generously.

Set a barbecue up with an internal temperature of between 150-170C. Barbecue the steak until it’s cooked how you like it: it should take approximately 45 minutes. Finish by reverse-searing the meat directly over the hot coals until well scored, turning at a 45-degree angle to get a criss-cross pattern.

Remove from the barbecue and rest, wrapped in Clingfilm and covered with tin foil, for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Serve topped with the cumin butter, along with some pickled red onions and charred green Turkish chillies.

 

Buttermilk chicken
shish kebab

“Shish (or cis) kebabs – skewered pieces of cubed meat – are found across the Levant and Middle East. I use thigh meat here, as it’s juicy and full of flavour”

Serves 2-4

Ingredients
100ml buttermilk
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp hot red pepper paste
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper
½ white onion, sliced
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered
2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
4 thin metal skewers, approximately 40-45cm long
4 Mediterranean flatbreads
Thinly sliced spring onions, fresh oregano, pomegranate seeds, preserved lemons and pickles, to serve

Put the buttermilk, spices, garlic, olive oil, red pepper paste, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and white onion in a bowl and stir to combine.

Add the chicken pieces and massage the mixture into the chicken. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or preferably overnight. Skewer the chicken pieces intermittently with the peppers and the red onion.

Set up your barbecue, ensuring that you are cooking on medium-hot embers. Grill the skewers directly over the burning coals, turning frequently to ensure both sides are well-coloured and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Brush the pitas or flatbreads with a little olive oil mixed with a few drops of water, and warm through briefly on the grill.

Transfer the pitas to a serving platter, top with the chicken thighs, and scatter over the spring onion, oregano, pomegranate, preserved lemons and pickles.

 

Marinated monster prawns
with pil-pil sauce

“Bring this dish to the table still sizzling, and you can’t go wrong. And bread for mopping up the juices is obligatory”

Serves 2

Ingredients
8 raw jumbo tiger prawns
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

For the pil-pil sauce
100ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 tsp ground coriander
A pinch of cayenne
3 tbsp chilli sauce
8–10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
A squeeze of lemon juice, 2 torn basil leaves, and toasted sourdough, to serve

Deshell the prawns (leave the heads and tails on for presentation, if you like), then use a small knife to cut out the vein that runs down the back of each.

Season the prawns and toss them in olive oil, garlic, dill and chilli flakes. Leave in the fridge to marinate for 2-4 hours. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based cast-iron frying pan and sauté the garlic over a medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened.

Remove the garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a mortar and pestle, leaving the cooking oil in the pan. Add the salt, cumin seeds, coriander and cayenne to the garlic and bash to form a paste.

Return the pan to the stove over a medium heat. Add the chilli sauce, cherry tomatoes and garlic, and cook for few minutes. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer while you finish the prawns.

Light your barbecue, ensuring you are cooking on hot embers. Set the prawns on the grill rack directly over the burning coals, turning once or twice to colour both sides well until cooked through – about 2–3 minutes on each side.

Transfer the prawns to the pan of pil-pil sauce and finish with the lemon juice and basil. Serve with sourdough to mop up the juices.

Recipes: Josh Katz / Photographer: James Murphy / Deputy food editor: Heather Taylor

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