In Australia, I cooked all year round on the barbecue. I would go as far as to say it was my favourite way to cook vegetables. The smoky flavour, and sporadically charred texture imparts such character to humble vegetables.
Grilling (as barbecuing is known in the US) is a Summer time tradition here and is a much bigger trend than I expected. Here in Carroll Gardens, the smell of charcoal and grilling dinners wafting through the neighbourhood is an early evening staple. To me, the enveloping aroma of outdoor grilling is incredibly nostalgic, and is evocative of my childhood in the suburbs of Sydney where our multicultural neighbours routinely took to their yards to cook.
Needless to say, I have spent much of the first week of Summer standing over my grill, tending to broccoli, asaparagus, sugar snap peas, snow peas and the like. To me, this feels just like home.
One of the first recipes I developed last week for the grill was this is a fresh and lively salad, resplendent with Spring’s seasonal harvest. Late season asparagus and juicy sweet sugar snap peas are combined with hearty bulgur wheat to form a tasty salad full of greenery and zest. The grilled lemon adds a lovely smoky zing to the dish.
Char-grilled asparagus, sugar snap peas with bulgur wheat and grilled lemon
- 400g/14.1oz asparagus, trimmed and halved
- 250g/8.8oz snap peas, trimmed
- 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups bulgur wheat
- 2 cups liquid vegetable stock
- ¼ cup (tightly packed) flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup (tightly packed) mint leaves, torn
- 100g/3.5oz feta, crumbled
- Sea salt and black pepper
Heat the barbecue or griddle pan to high heat. In a large bowl, add the asparagus, snap peas and lemon slices and drizzle with some olive oil. When the barbecue is smoking hot, add the asparagus, snap peas and lemon slices and cook, turning often, for 2-3 minutes, until just tender and starting to char. Remove and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the liquid vegetable to the boil. Take off the heat, add the bulgur wheat, cover and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Remove lid and fluff up with a fork.
Combine the bulgur wheat with the asparagus, snap peas, herbs and some sea salt and toss to combine. Add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. To serve, crumble over the feta cheese and garnish with the charred lemon wedges for squeezing.