So, it is clear that the summer has arrived in Cyprus. Not only does this mean sunny beach days, but also more barbeque nights! The time has definitely come to start planning the menu, inviting friends, and preparing our favourite summer outdoor dining experience.
Of course, cooking on the grill is a huge part of the culinary culture here in Cyprus. Indeed, the national dish of Cyprus is said to be Souvla. The island’s main festivities and celebrations usually include cooking either pork skewers or chicken skewers over the coals. Come Christmas and Easter, the smell of charcoal smoking and meat sizzling fills the air. But its not just about the food. It’s also about the company, the process and the gathering together of loved ones and friends.
There is no denying that here in Cyprus we are already BBQ masters. Cypriot Souvla is undoubtedly cooked to perfection, using time-honoured techniques that can often take up to 3 hours. Thus, the meat becomes tender and succulent on the inside, crisp and firm on the outside. Deliciously seasoned with salt and oregano, Souvla really does melt in the mouth. And although everyone has their own traditions or methods, learning new tips and tricks can even further improve our barbeque skills.
To begin with, your summer barbeque doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Even though we all love the unique flavours and tastes of food cooked on the grill, it can be harmful. But it doesn’t have to be! In fact, there are plenty of ways to make your barbeque better for your health.
Furthermore, swapping the Souvla and cooking something different on the grill will add a welcome touch of variety. While our national dish will always be much loved around the island, we recommend expanding the BBQ menu this summer. Because at the end of the day, there are so many other things that can be cooked on the foukou! So, to help inspire you, here are two delicious alternative BBQ recipes, for a change from the staple Souvla this summer:
BARBECUED SQUID SALAD
For the squid
- 800g frozen squid
- Zest of 3 limes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ tsp mixed peppercorn
For the salad
- 1 large red onion
- 1 mango
- 1 red chilli
- 400g cooked black beans
- 3 ripe avocados
- Handful of coriander leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil for the dressing
- Defrost the frozen squid overnight. Once it has defrosted, make small incisions around each piece, then mix the zest of the three limes together with the olive oil, garlic and crushed peppercorns, and let the squid marinate for up to four hours.
- Heat up your coals on the foukou. As they are heating, make the salad. First chop the onion, mango and chilli, before adding them all into a bowl with a pinch of salt and the juice of the three limes. Mix well, then let sit for around 10 minutes or until the onion turns pink.
- Add the beans and chopped avocado to the salad and mix together well.
- Once the coals are ready, add a pinch of salt to the squid as they marinate. Then place the pieces on the barbeque and cook for around 1-2 minutes, or until they turn from grey to white.
- When they are ready, place the hot squid pieces on top of the salad mix and top with the chopped coriander and a drizzle of extra olive oil.
BBQ PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS WITH CHEESE
- 50g butter
- Handful chopped parsley
- 2 garlic cloves
- 8 large portobello mushrooms
- 1 jar of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 125g mozzarella cheese
- 25g fresh breadcrumbs
- 25g chopped walnuts
- Heat up the coals and prepare the barbecue for grilling.
- Melt the butter, then pour it into a bowl and add the chopped parsley and crushed garlic cloves. Mix well before seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Remove and finely chop the stalks of each of the portobello mushrooms, before adding them into the melted butter and garlic mixture.
- Add the beans to the melted butter and garlic mixture. Stir them in well so that everything is coated with the melted butter. As you stir, use a fork to mash the beans a little bit.
- Once your coals are ready, take the portobello mushrooms and drizzle some olive oil on the top side of each before placing them top-side down on the grill and cooking for around 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove the mushrooms and place on an oven roasting tray.
- Put a slice of mozzarella inside each mushroom, then top with the melted butter, garlic and bean mixture.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and chopped walnuts on top of each mushroom and add a drizzle of olive oil before putting the tray into the oven to cook for another 15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are crisp and lightly browned.
- Serve up with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Here at Prinos Farm&Deli, we are dedicated to helping you make your culinary experience more interesting, with a wide-range of artisan products and quality ingredients that will really spice up your home cooking. So, pop down to our stores in Larnaca and Nicosia, or visit our online shop today. And pick up what you need to add some variety to your barbeque nights this summer.
Don’t forget that you can always put your order online at shop.prinos.eu.