Grilled red onions with chive flowers and pomegranate molasses

Serves 4-6

Something as simple as an onion can be transformed into a delicious salad, starter or accompaniment when cooked over open flames. The chives I grow down in Dorset turn into an amazing bed of purple flowers if I don’t harvest them on a regular basis.

The flowers themselves can be chopped onto dishes or used as a table decoration. You can buy pomegranate molasses in Mediterranean supermarkets, or you could use aged balsamico or vin cotto, which is fermented grape must. Any of these condiments will add a delicious extra sweetness to the grilled onions.

Ingredients

4 large red onions, peeled and cut into 1cm-1½cm-thick slices
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or corn oil for brushing
2tbsp pomegranate molasses (see above)
2-3tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A few lengths of chives and their flowers, chopped

Method

Season and cook the onion slices for about 6-7 minutes on each side on the medium heat of the barbecue, moving to a cooler spot if they’re burning. Once cooked, transfer to a serving dish and spoon the pomegranate molasses over, then the olive oil, and scatter the chives and flowers over the dish.

Barbecued chicken

Serves 4-6

Lars based his chicken marinade on mustard and chilli by chance, I’d been sent some Grey Poupon mustards, Tabasco chipotle and Habañero sauces, so they form the basis for this marinade. I split the chicken with a heavy knife through the backbone and flatten it, scoring the legs through to the bone on both sides, so the chicken cooks evenly. You can also remove the backbone-it has no real meat, so chop it up for a gravy another time. Cook some halves of new-season garlic on the barbecue at the same time as the chicken-they’re delicious just scooped out and spread onto toast, or served as a kind of natural sauce with the bird.

Ingredients

2 good-quality free-range chickens, prepared as above

For the marinade

3-4tbsp Poupon Dijon mustard
3-4tbsp clear honey
1tbsp ground cumin
2-3tsp Habañero or Tabasco chipotle sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Pre-heat the barbecue. As it’s warming up, mix all of the ingredients for the marinade and brush two-thirds of it onto the chickens. Cook the chickens on a medium-hot part of the barbecue for about 10-15 minutes on each side, moving them around and turning them so they cook evenly. Towards the end of cooking, brush the rest of the marinade over the chickens to give them a final glaze. I find that shifting the coals helps so you have a part of the barbecue that’s cooler or, if your barbecue has a second tier, that will be perfect for finishing larger cuts away from the extreme heat
of the coals.

Mark Hix’s ‘Seasonal Food’ is available from Quadrille at £25

* Picture from http://thekitchensinkrecipes.com

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