Annabel Langbein shares her plans for the Summer Holidays and lets us know what her favourite go-to Summer recipe is.
I love the whole laid-back approach to entertaining over the summer. Everyone brings along a salad and something for the barbie, so it’s very relaxing for the cook.
And at this time of year, there’s so much great produce to choose from. Nature has done the hard work, delivering brilliant flavours and freshness, so your job is more about firing up the grill and assembling some tasty fixings.
I love the idea of cooking over the coals. There’s a wonderful sociability in standing around a fire or barbecue, the food pretty much cooks itself, and the aroma of food cooking on the barbecue is so appetising it brings people together.
Every summer I try to have a couple of recipes up my sleeve that are perfect for taking along to a summer barbecue or dishing up when I’m on holiday away from my own kitchen. My main requirement for this kind of food is that there’s no last-minute fuss – no collapsing soufflés here, thank you!
This summer my go-to recipe is barbecued jerk chicken with a zesty Caribbean salsa. I chop up the chicken and serve it in lettuce cups, but you could easily just serve the lettuce salad separately, topped with the chicken and the salsa as a dressing.
It ticks all my boxes – the flavours are interesting and exotic, and it’s lovely and summery, fresh and light. Best of all you can get everything prepared ahead of time.
The jerk marinade is one you can make in bulk and store in the fridge. It will keep for about a week and it’s really good with pork as well as chicken. The salsa can be made with sweet summer fruit, such as peaches or nectarines, or pineapple (you could probably even use a can of pineapple in juice if you aren’t near a fresh produce stand). And finally, I use boneless chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts, because they cook quickly without over-charring and stay nice and moist. It’s a winner!
This summer both our kids are going to be offshore so Ted and I are going to be home at Lake Wanaka, pottering. I remember my mother saying she never liked going away during the summer because the garden was so amazing – and I remember thinking: “How dull is that!” But now I can totally see where she was coming from. It’s just so thrilling heading up to the garden and finding so much amazing food to harvest.
I’ll be getting out my stand-up paddle board and meeting friends for some early morning exercise on the lake before the heat of the day kicks in. We have various friends coming to stay so there’ll be lots of picnics and walks and late evening swims, barbecues and adventures. I can’t wait!
Annabel Langbein’s Jerk Chicken with Caribbean Salsa
Ready in 1 hour + marinating
- 12-16 skin-on boneless chicken thighs, halved
- 24-36 baby gem or cos lettuce leaves, separated
- a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, to finish
Jerk Marinade Ingredients
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
- juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 5 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 juicy lime
- ½-1 long red chilli, or more to taste, very finely chopped
- ½ pineapple or 2-3 peaches or nectarines, finely chopped
- ¼ cup shredded coriander or basil leaves
- ½ tsp salt ground black pepper, to taste
- To make the Jerk Marinade, combine all the ingredients in a large roasting dish or clean plastic bag. Add chicken to the dish or bag and turn to coat evenly. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
- To make Caribbean Salsa mix everything together gently. It can be prepared in advance without the coriander or basil and chilled for up to 6 hours until needed. Stir in the coriander or basil just before serving.
- When ready to cook, preheat barbecue grill to a medium heat. Lift chicken pieces from marinade and grill, turning frequently, until fully cooked through (about 20 minutes).
- To serve, arrange lettuce leaf cups on a large serving platter. Slice chicken pieces into 3 and arrange on top then add salsa and finish with a drizzle of lime or lemon juice.
This recipe is extracted from Annabel’s new spring / summer annual Annabel Langbein A Free Range Life: Celebrate Summer! (Annabel Langbein Media, $24.95) now available from EziBuy.
Let us know in the comments below if you try a recipe from Annabel Langbein’s latest recipe book. We’d love to see how you go in the kitchen!