August 5, 2014

I lived in France for a long time, and still enjoy going back as often as possible, and if there's one thing I miss above all else, it's the food. Famous the world over for their fine cuisine, there is just something the French have when it comes to culinary expertise that can't be matched - as far as I'm concerned, anyway! So, the summer is finally upon us and in full swing, and with it comes the much-loved barbecue season. To get you inspired behind the grill, take a look at some of these delicious French-inspired barbecue recipes to try out this summer, next time you fire the coals up!

French-style Crispy Barbecue Chicken

Doing chicken well is a speciality of the French, and this recipe is a failsafe for culinary success. The meat is moist and tender, whilst the skin is crispy and delicious - the perfect combination. It is sure to go down a storm at any barbecue!

1.8 - 2kg whole chicken
1 onion, finely chopped
Half a clove of garlic, minced
A handful of rosemary leaves, finely chopped
4 fresh bay leaves
4 tbsps white wine vinegar
Half a lemon
Serves six people

Mix together the onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves and white wine vinegar in a large bowl to make the marinade. Score the chicken a couple of times, to allow the flavours of the marinade to soak in and also more even, faster cooking. Place the chicken in the bowl, rubbing the marinade into the skin, and leave in the fridge overnight for at least 12 hours.

When it comes to cooking, preheat the oven to 190°C, remove the chicken from the fridge and dry off with kitchen towel. Pop the halved lemon and the bay leaves from the marinade inside the chicken, place it in a roasting tray, cover with plenty of tin foil and put it in the oven for one hour.

Once the chicken is cooked through, take it out of the oven and finish it off on the barbecue to get that lovely smoky flavour. Be sure to turn it reasonably often to get all of the skin nice and golden and crispy. Carve the chicken to serve, and enjoy!

BBQ Chicken

Finishing chicken off on the barbecue gives it a beautiful golden colour and smoky flavour

Monkfish Skewers Marinated in Herbes de Provence

For something a little more unusual on the barbecue, head down to your local fishmonger or supermarket and see if you can get your hands on some monkfish. This delicious white fish has a wonderful, delicate flavour, which this recipe really brings the best out of.

400g monkfish fillets
1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 cloves of garlic, minced
60ml olive oil
60ml white wine
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
2 lemons, one halved and sliced, the other cut into wedges
Wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for a couple of hours
Makes eight skewers

First things first, make sure you put your wooden skewers in bowl of cold water so that they are fully submerged. Leave them to soak for at least a couple of hours. This will prevent them from catching fire on the barbecue, and ruining your monkfish.

Cut the monkfish fillets into cubes and set aside. Mix together the Herbes de Provence, minced garlic, olive oil and white wine in a bowl. Add the cubed monkfish to the bowl and toss, thoroughly covering the fillets, before leaving in the fridge for at least one hour.

Season the fish with freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste. Slide three or four cubes of monkfish onto the skewer, adding a slice of lemon in between each cube. Turn frequently whilst barbecuing, until the fish is just opaque. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon for dressing.

Tarragon Potato Salad

Barbecues aren't just about meat. It's also good to have a variety of delicious side dishes to complement the main affair, and one of my all-time favourites has to be potato salad. The recipe I follow adds a bit of tarragon to give it that extra depth of flavour and interest.

2kg Charlotte potatoes
125ml white wine
2 tbsps red wine vinegar
2 shallots, finely sliced
A couple of handfuls of fresh tarragon and chives
2 tsps Dijon mustard
60ml olive oil
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
Serves four to six people

Put the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until tender. Once cooked, drain the water, remove the skin and slice into a bowl. Pour the white wine over the potatoes and mix until absorbed.

Whilst the potatoes are boiling, add the sliced shallots to a bowl and pour over the red wine vinegar. Leave to sit for five minutes, before draining off the excess vinegar. These can then be added, along with the tarragon and chives, to the bowl of potatoes.

Mix the mustard and the oil together and drizzle over the potatoes. Season to taste with freshly ground salt and black pepper and serve.

Eating outdoors

There's nothing quite like cooking on an open fire and enjoying your dinner in the great outdoors

So if you're planning a family holiday to France this summer, why not try one of the many amazing Campsites in France , where you and the kids can cook up a storm over the campfire. With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle , it takes just 35 minutes to cross the Channel from the UK to France, so you'll be on your way before you know it. What's more, with no baggage restrictions you can take everything you need to try out these tasty French-inspired barbecue recipes wherever you are!

Photo Credits:
07.FoodVendors.10thFestAfrica.SilverSpringMD.11August2012 © Elvert Barnes
mmm...chicken © coffee shop soulja
Camping © Robert S. Donovan

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