How to bring some gourmet flair to your summer dining
Food always tastes better outdoors. This summer, why not create some new, really special ‘al fresco’ memories? With our unusual food ideas and easy tips, you can have yourself a gourmet summer to remember.
Keep it simple
Great summer dining is all about simple things done really well. Whether you’re having a barbecue, or are just taking your dinner outside to the patio, the principles are the same.
- Choose show-stopping meat – it will do all the talking for you! Go to a reputed butcher, and select meat that has been properly hung and cut by hand. If you don’t have a local butcher, try one that will deliver – this one serves The Queen:
- Cook it simply – start with it at room temperature for even cooking, remember not to overcook it, and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. This gives the meat time to relax and let its juices settle evenly throughout.
- Serve it with style! Smaller treats like mini burgers and sharing cuts mean everyone can help themselves to a taste of everything. Prepare your accompaniments ahead of time, so you can sear and serve effortlessly. You can’t go wrong with some nice, fresh crusty bread, and make up some exciting complementary salads – three of our favourites are below, at the end of this guide.
Wow them with flavour
Choose cuts which are naturally rich in flavour. Fat and bones both add extra taste during cooking. Darker poultry meat like the thigh will have more flavour and stay juicier than breast cuts, and the marbling in red meat will render during cooking for a real mouth-watering experience. For a delicious combination of all of these factors, choose something with real theatre, like a large beef Rib Steak – it’ll have everyone salivating, from hungry carnivores to connoisseurs.
Let someone else do the hard work for you
- Choose cuts that have been marinated for you – there will be no mess or waiting around while things sit infusing in your fridge
- Look for cuts that have already been hand prepared and cooked or par-cooked for you. It’s one sure-fire way to avoid the worries about undercooked meat or poultry on your barbecue. Cuts like these free-range chicken wings can be eaten cold for a picnic, or heated briefly on the barbecue.
Go for artisan-made feature ingredients
You want to treat your family or guests to the best, and by choosing hand prepared ingredients from a long artisan tradition, you’ll not only guarantee quality but get the story behind the food. For example, serve this hot-smoked Honey Roast Salmon and you can tell your guests they’re eating a little piece of history, hand prepared in Scotland’s oldest smokehouse, which has been in operation since the reign of Elizabeth I!
Introduce your guests to a real gourmet speciality
When it comes to exquisite, ready-to-eat delicacies, why limit your palate to within familiar boundaries? Try something new! To enjoy an authentic gourmet treat, get it from the people who make it with the most passion – the farmers or the specialists who really know their stuff. Try some hand prepared Italian charcuterie, or how about some French free-range Duck Confit? Both of these delicious treats can be enjoyed as they are, or used in unusual gourmet sandwiches and salads.
Complement your delicious food with a nice bottle of wine, or jug of fruited tap water, light some citronella candles to keep the insects away and be prepared for the conversation (and compliments on the food!) to keep flowing as the sun sets…
Loading up next...