In today's second instalment of our BBQ Bonanza, we're going to grill a whole seabass and some mexican-flavoured chicken.
Achiote is commonly called "annato" in Europe, at least according to numerous websites I consulted. However, having lived in Europe (almost) all my life, I have rarely heard this term. A friend of mine brought me some from Mexico once and fortunately, this keeps for a long time. The red achiote seeds are crushed and sold either as a powder or as a very thick paste. Although the colour is about the same, it doesn't taste like paprika, but it can also have a slightly smokey flavour. I only ever use it to marinate meat (usually pork or chicken), and it's the simplest thing ever: mix some lemon juice with some of the achiote paste or powder, add the chicken/pork (cut into fillets or bite-size portions) and leave to infuse for at least an hour. The achiote paste has a very fresh flavour, and the lemon juice lifts this even more. No fat in sight, either, so a healthy but very tasty addition to your barbecue!
Having just bought a fish grill for the barbecue, I just had to try this out. As I tend to do when cooking it in the oven, I stuffed the fish with slices of garlic and handfuls of leaves of rosemary and thyme. Add sea salt, pepper and a little olive oil, and rub the outside with some more sea salt, put the fish in his "cage" and off you go grilling. The skin will form lovely burnt blisters and the fish will be moist and tender and cook in no time at all!
Whole stuffed seabass
1 whole sea-bass, scaled and cleaned
4 cloves garlic (sliced)
1 handful rosemary and thyme leaves (chopped)
sea salt, black pepper and some olive oil
Stuff the fish with the ingredients and rub the skin with some sea salt before putting it in the fish grill. Lay on the BBQ for 10-15 minutes, turning over half-way through. Obviously the cooking time will very much depend on the size of your fish and the type of barbecue, so adjust as you see fit. Take the flesh off the bone, add some of the herb and garlic stuffing and sprinkle with lemon juice.
4 chicken breasts
1 heaped tsp achiote paste
juice of 1 lemon
Put the achiote in a tupperware container, add the lemon juice and dissolve the paste in the liquid. Cut the chicken fillets in halves or bite-sized chunks, whichever you prefer, add to the container and cover with marinade evenly (I always close the container and shake it like a madwoman - whatever rocks your boat!). Refrigerate until ready to use.