There is nothing more synonymous with summer than cookouts, barbecues and outdoor grilling. Call it what you will, but it is an American staple of summertime socialization and entertainment. From summer’s kickoff on Memorial Day Weekend to it’s sad farewell with Labor Day Weekend, families and friends meet and party around barbecues. Award-winning and best-selling cookbook author Julie Biuso’s new effort “Sizzle, sensational barbecue food,” is sure to become this summer’s guide to flavor and innovative barbecue.
Biuso,‚ ‚ a native from New Zealand, got‚ “Sizzle” published in the U.S.‚ ‚ in April 2008 and‚ ‚ it was named the “best barbecue book in the history of the awards,” by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. From the very first paragraphs of the Introduction it is easy to see why. ‚ Readers are thrown into reminiscences of childhood Auckland picnics and the bold grilling flavors of New Zealand. This cookbook is filled with simple, yet creative, recipes to fit any grilling desires; from seafood and poultry to delicious fruit combinations for a well-rounded meal.
The book is broken down into various sections‚ beginning‚ with, what else, Beginnings. The appetizers and other small plates listed are the perfect way to start any meal. From Zucchini & corn fritters (p.15) to Bruschetta with chick pea pate & sugared tomatoes (p.26) each dish has a thorough and simple instruction guide and ingredient list. Additionally, beneath each recipe name there is a great tip regarding the dish, offering different options to the home cook based on flavor preference or giving a helpful hint on a cooking method.
One great example is the Seared scallops with chili pepper dressing (p.31). “Cutting a criss-cross patter on the scallops makes them open much like blooming flowers, letting them absorb more dressing as they cook, but this step is optional.” These little cheat sheet-type blurbs are a great teaching tool for home cooks to implement while grilling recipes from Sizzle, not to mention in all of their future cooking endeavors.
On to the Main Events dishes. Seared lamb with cumin rub (p.39) is a wonderful homage to Middle Eastern flavors and cooking techniques. Additionally, on the same page there is a recipe for a simple beet salad made refreshing thanks to lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest. There are numerous dishes utilizing the flavors from the Middle East, along with Italy and Southeast Asia. Sticky chicken satay (p.54) is a play on a Thai favorite and seasoned with fresh ginger, lemon juice, runny honey, coriander and black pepper. With a comprehensive ingredient list for each recipe there isn’t one meal a home cook could find intimidating. Burgers, steaks, various sandwiches, such as the Eggplant toasties (p.52), round out the Main Events section with enough variety in flavor and proteins to suit any palette.
There is a separate Seafood section with flavorful offerings including Coconut fish cakes (p.80) and Whole fish with cilantro (p.82). But what really caught my attention was the Sides section beginning on p.90. I have to say, sides definitely can make or break any great barbecue adventure, and the choices here are endless. Colin’s breakfast tomatoes (p.92) are a wonderful way to utilize your grill in a manner you would never have thought of. Simply grilling vine-ripened large tomato halves seasoned with superfine granulated sugar, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper along with fresh basil, thyme and some butter, makes for a tasty and unique side serving.
Sizzle boasts many more sections including Salads, Sauces & Salsas, and Sweet Endings. Making this cookbook the perfect go-to manual for simple but flavorful and exotic grilling options for this summer. Along with a Barbecue Know-How section in the back of the books and step-by-step instructions, Biuso’s latest is a delicious foray into New Zealand grilling.