Next month is February which means it’s time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day. It’s in our DNA to show we care for someone by providing them with food, so this is a great chance for you to show your mad BBQ’ing skills to your beloved. Or someone you want to be your beloved…
And what better way to show how much you care than by preparing a three course meal of Oysters Kilpatrick, Chicken Parmigiana, and Vanilla Ice Cream with fresh Passionfruit?
Now, this cook gets a little more advanced in terms of our grilling skills, but the recipe itself is nice and simple. Aside from a little sauce blending for the oysters, everything else is available pre-made at your local major supermarket including the conveniently heart-shaped chicken schnitzel which kicked all this off when I spotted it last week when I was in there buying nappies and formula.
Here are the main ingredients. Notice those conveniently shaped chicken schnitzels? They should help you get your message across! I also have a dozen oysters, streaky bacon, diced bacon, diced brown onion, and my special Oyster Kilpatrick Sauce.
This is actually really easy to make. Start with a half cup of your favourite smokey BBQ sauce, and add Worcestershire sauce a tablespoon at a time until you find a taste you like. Then add some minced garlic, and if you like it spicy, some Tabasco sauce. Then just mix it together: easy peasy!
As I said earlier, we are going to be adding a new technique to our skill set: Indirect Cooking. This means that the food isn’t sitting directly above the heat source while it’s cooking. The trick is, we’re going to be doing both at the same time! Don’t worry: it’s easier than it sounds.
So you’ll see from the picture above that I’ve put in my warming rack. Preheat your BBQ as we’ve done before, and when it’s ready put some paper towel on the warming rack, making sure that they are on the side that’s turned off. With a little bit of olive oil spray, put your diced bacon and onion on the hotplate and mix them together, then make some room and put on your bacon strips.
Once they’ve had a minute or two to drain, add the diced bacon and onion to your sauce mix and stir them through. Then, with a teaspoon, spoon the mixture into your oyster shells. On the grill side of your bbq, carefully place the oyster shells between the rails of the grill: they will help the oyster stand up straight and not tip your sauce out. Another option is put a bunch of rock salt in a tray and use the salt to hold up the oyster shells… but then you have another tray to wash up! Do not turn on the burners under your oysters – we’re using Indirect Cooking for these bad boys!
Clean up most of the bacon oil off your hotplate and put on your schnitzels. Using a medium heat, close the lid and leave it for five minutes. When the time is up, open the lid, flip your schnitzels, then close the lid for another five minutes. At this stage, your schnitzels should be nicely browned on either side.
At this stage, move your schnitzels up onto the paper towels, and spoon on your favourite pasta sauce. I found a delicious one that had sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic. Don’t be shy with it: the bread crumbs in your schnitzel will soak it right up, so you want to use quite a bit and make sure you spread it out to the edges. Then put on your bacon, making sure that it doesn’t hang over the edge of your schnitzel and ruin your heart shape. Then put on your cheese: I used mozzarella on one and Greek feta on the other.
Add another light spray of olive oil and put on your chips. I like to use Creme Gold potatoes and cut them into 1cm x 1cm fries. Now, how you like your oysters depends on when you want to take them off. I like mine well done so I left them on for two more five minute cycles of chip cooking: if you like them still soft then take them off now and serve them up.
Here’s a presentation idea: a bed of baby spinach and cherry tomatoes. The upshot of this is that when you’ve finished your entree, you can use the spinach and cherry tomatoes in your salad for your main!
You’ll need to give your chips three or four five-minute cycles giving them a stir between each one to ensure that they cook evenly on all sides until they’re golden brown. Again, if you like them crispy, cook them longer. I like mine quite golden, but not blackened so when they look like this, they’re done.
Plate up your parmigiana with your fries and a nice garden salad. Garnish with a few flowers for effect if you like. I’ve used some fresh Basil and some non-edible tropical flowers from the garden. Look at that cheese and bacon! Ka-Chow!
For desert, after a rich meal with cheese and bacon, you want to keep it simple and with a contrasting flavour. I went for vanilla ice cream with fresh passionfruit. The passionfruit is a nice pallet cleanser after the heaviness of the main.
My biggest tip for this meal is to set up some furniture near your BBQ: that way while you’re cooking you can still be chatting, laughing, and let’s be honest, wooing! It will make it harder to ‘test’ a few of the oysters before presenting them though…
I’d love to hear about your Valentine’s Day cooking exploits in the Comments below. But just the cooking part… the rest of your Valentine’s Day, well, that’s for another blog altogether…