There’s nothing quite like the smell of a deliciously-crafted chuck patty or a perfectly-seasoned piece of rich salmon wafting up from the barbecue in summer time. Cooking outdoors puts a smile on everyone’s face and creates the ideal setting to revel in the all-too-brief time Canadians can comfortably enjoy cooking outdoors. I can’t think of a better way to spend the season’s scorching hot days than savouring a tasty meal with families and friends in the backyard.
While the backyard barbecue may be the ideal summer setting for a flame-grilled feast, it’s not right until you take care of the little details that others might overlook. In our case, we make sure that the side dishes included in our barbecue menus are created with passion and care—our Executive Chef Steven Sinclair’s family recipe for coleslaw and potato salads, are just two examples—not to mention oven-fresh artisanal brioche buns sourced from the very best bakeries across the Greater Toronto Area. But in our view, that’s still not quite enough to put a barbecue over the top.
For us, the condiments are the finishing touch that transforms any outdoor meal experience from fun to unforgettable. And here’s the thing about Kiss the Cook Catering: we love preparing absolutely every dish from scratch whenever possible. That includes our barbecue condiments. Now, you may be wondering how on Earth you’ll find the time to whip together your own condiment selection. The good news is that these recipes take little time to prepare.
That’s right—we’re calling on you to throw away traditional staples such as ketchup, relish and mustard (or at least set them aside for a while) and get ready to add a little artistry to your grill-fest. We’re proud to present our five favourite Kiss the Cook barbecue condiments and a few reasons why each one should make it on to your next backyard barbecue menu:
This flavourful condiment is a staple for Catalan fishermen who have traditionally eaten it with their fresh catch of the day, or as a dip for calçots, a local spring onion. We pair it with everything from fish and grilled meats to vegetables such as grilled asparagus.
“Romesco is one of the most versatile condiments you can prepare,” explains Chef Steven. “It’s hearty and rich with a smoky creamy texture, and you can adjust the heat to your liking by adding chilies.”
1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, crust removed and cut into cubes
1 Large Tomato
5 Cloves Garlic
½ Cup roasted almonds or hazelnuts
2 Medium red bell peppers
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Dash cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place nuts, garlic, bread, and tomato on baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast approximately 10 minutes, until the nuts are fragrant and bread is toasted. Remove the bread and nuts and continue roasting the garlic and tomato for an additional 25 mins. Remove and peel tomato and garlic.
- Roast peppers over an open flame (grill or gas stove) until skins are blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove skin, seeds and cores.
- Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
- Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
EASY XO SAUCE
Legend has it this condiment was created by chefs at the luxurious Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. Others say it was first prepared in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district. Either way, it’s a delicious topping for seafood, noodles and vegetables.
“There are few better ways to add Asian flair to your backyard barbecue than with XO sauce,” says Chef Steven. “Salty, umami tastes and a spicy finish add extra flavour to every bite, especially with seafoods and fresh summer veggies.”
1 1/3 cups Chinese sausage
1/4 cup dried scallop
1/4 cup dried shrimp
1/4 cup dried crabmeat
1/2 cup minced ginger
1/2 cup minced shallot
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons fermented bean paste
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 cup sesame oil
- Cover dried seafood in boiling water and rehydrate overnight in the refrigerator.
- Drain the water from the seafood.
- Dice and sauté Chinese sausage until fat has been rendered. Reserve all but ½ cup fat.
- Add red pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients including sausage fat, but reserve the sesame oil. Slowly caramelize on low heat over 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add sesame oil, combine well. Taste and season to taste.
KISS THE COOK BBQ SAUCE
If you’re like us, you probably love trying different barbecue sauce flavours—from Kansas City smoke to Carolina sweet and sticky—but don’t love the fact that most store-bought sauces contain a ton of preservatives and other ingredients that help the product last longer on store shelves, but ultimately compromise taste and turn them into a not-so-healthy option. Here’s the good news: you can make delicious barbecue sauce from scratch, and it doesn’t take much time or skill. “Once you go homemade, you’ll never go back,” says Chef Steven.
Our sauce is sweet and smoky, with a spicy, bold finish. It’s great with chicken and ribs and by our estimates takes only about an hour to prepare, and without much work. Serve it to guests and you’ll look like a culinary hero when you proudly proclaim that your barbecue sauce is homemade.
1 Litre Tomato puree
3 Ancho chilies soaked in hot water until soft
4 cups of brewed coffee, reduced by ½
1/2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 tablespoons cumin powder
½ tbsp onion powder
½ tbsp garlic powder
1 tablespoons dry oregano
1 Tbsp chili powder
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
- Place wet, then dry ingredients into a saucepan, whisk until combined.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour until thickened.
- Puree mixture with an immersion blender. Bring to boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to airtight container and put into the refrigerator. Store for up to 2 weeks.
ITALIAN SALSA VERDE
‘Green sauce’ has been made by chefs for centuries. Virtually every southern European, or European-influenced, culture has its own version. You might recognize it as chimichurri, an Argentinian favourite, for example, or as sauce verte in France. Wherever it’s made and whatever spice profile is used to add a distinctive local flavour, it’s a delicious and versatile condiment option that adds some attitude to the average barbecue. We love dishing it liberally on fish, seafood, poultry or veggies at room temperature, or sopping it up with crusty bread—following the lead of old-school Italian foodies.
“Italian salsa verde delivers an earthy, salty flavour that creates an even greater sensory pop when it’s made and served fresh,” explains Chef Steven. “You can add virtually any subtle herb to adjust the flavours. If you’re serving it with fish, for example, simply add dill and tarragon. For chicken and red meat, I customize the herb combination by adding basil and oregano. You really can’t go wrong.”
1 ½ Cups packed, roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
2/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup capers (drained)
2 Anchovy fillets
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and black pepper
- Place parsley, olive oil, capers, anchovies, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until parsley is chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
- Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a small bowl and serve immediately.
When you think of mustard, what first comes to mind is the yellow stuff served in the ergonomic bottle at virtually every backyard gathering you’ve ever attended. We’ve all splattered it on a burger or hot dog at summer barbecues and enjoyed its spicy familiarity. But what’s frustrating is that there are literally dozens of artisanal mustards that are never explored by most North Americans, even though they are enormously popular in countries such as France. Cherry mustard is one of them. With a sweet and tangy flavour profile that delivers a bright, tart finish, this condiment adds gorgeous colour to the plate. It’s also very easy to make, which makes it one of our favourites. Serve it with pork or chicken and you’ll look like a master chef while manning the grill.
1 Pound Bing cherries
2 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup ruby port
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Boil the cherries, red wine vinegar, port and sugar over high heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until syrupy. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Return to saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Stir occasionally until thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in the mustard a little at a time until well incorporated. Cool and transfer to airtight container to be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
We can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed if you add one (or more) of these amazing condiments to your next barbecue menu. Better yet, why not hire us to do the cooking for you? Take a look at our extensive barbecue menu and let’s get grilling!
To book catering for your next barbecue, contact us now