If you’re anything like me, you love getting the BBQ out and having a few beers on a Sunday afternoon… But the food is always the same, Snags and steak. I wanted a bit of a change so Seafood BBQ cooking classes it was!
I am on my way, driving over the Sydney Harbour Bridge bound for a secret destination which will allow me to never fear the BBQ again. I have been told of a special place where I can learn the secrets that will enable me to turn what is often a bit of a mess into a culinary masterpiece without breaking into a sweat!
Today was going to be a turning point in my life, where I would perfect my skills with the humble BBQ, as guided by our knowledgeable head chef and instructor, Ben. I was greeted and then introduced to the crew, and almost magically, I found an ice-cold beer in my hand. Now, I’m no expert but that is certainly a good start to any BBQ cooking lesson!
We put on our dashing aprons and with a quick word about safety, it was then onto the menu. Today was the seafood lesson, which was perfect for me – I have always wanted that something else up the sleeve; the wow factor! Let the truth be told, I wanted to receive the ‘I didn’t know you could cook that on a BBQ…!?’ comment from my mother – only then would I know that I have truly succeeded in life!
Today’s menu included huge king prawns, swordfish, octopus and snapper. We started with some simple shopping tips to help make sure we got what we needed when we hit the fish markets and how to avoid the pitfalls of shopping for fresh fish.
We then moved on to peeling the delicious green king prawns and the first of Ben’s ‘prepared earlier’ magic sauces. In all fairness, I could see how 10 minutes of quality time with my food processor could produce these stunning sauces and we were assured of taking home the delicious recipes at the end of the class. By the time we had prepared the seafood, the BBQs were already nice and hot, so there was no holding back – we were all gourmet chefs in 10 minutes and just 4 minutes later were indulging in a prawn appetiser.
The magic of this seafood BBQ course was to sneak up on us at this point. As we retired from the hotplate and turned around to eat our first creation, lesson 2 was upon us. What wine should you serve? A quick summary followed and then a sample was poured for all.
The next course was of course, fish – a huge swordfish! We had a lesson about preparing fish and buying cost effectively, and then, of course more cooking and more eating. My favourite part!
The last two dishes took a little more work. Cooking two whole snappers was not something we were up to just yet, so it was time to sit back and watch the master at work, as we put our octopus on the BBQ. Ben, once again, was armed with the ‘special sauce’ that made our humble octopus something else and when paired with another fine Australian wine. It was like manna from heaven!
When the snapper was finally declared done, we retreated inside to the comfort of the air conditioning to sit down for lunch and a recap of everything we had learnt. Apart from a great lunch, we had learnt a tonne about cooking on our humble BBQ. By now I should be a wiz when it comes to the next family cook-off… swordfish and ‘special sauce’ anyone?