As the warmer weather and longer days continue to roll in, we’re pushing for as much time outside with friends and family as possible. That includes, of course, as many backyard — or public park — barbecues as you can fit in in a week.
"I love the community of it," says celebrity chef Richard Blais of his own backyard get-togethers. "[I] love cooking in a relaxed way when you aren't worrying about yelpers, bloggers, or critics, etc."
But for those of us who never have to worry about our meals being rated in public places — other than our buddy’s Instagram feed — Blais offered some expert tips on how to make most of your alfresco fête.
Number one: "Cook ahead," he says. "Think like a chef and do the work ahead, like we would in a restaurant — that way you can enjoy your day!" It’s sound advice from someone whose focus in the kitchen won him the eighth season of Top Chef Masters, and continues to make him a staple educator on how to make the best burgers.
Number two: "Don't be afraid to cook new things for your barbecue. Chicken and cows are nice, but ducks and lambs make for excellent barbecue, too," he says. Known to play with his food, these additions are no surprise, though we’d like to amend his list by adding a couple other inventive approaches — including pears, salmon, and bones for ice cream.
Number 3: Invest in these five things, no matter where you plan to host your cook out: "A wood burning grill, some friends, your hands, a nice carbonated beverage" — we’re assuming of the adult nature — "and some cucumber wet wipes," he says. (See below for easy access to these essentials).
Inspired by the season, we compiled one delightful summer meal of green gazpacho, char-grilled artichokes, and lobster rolls, straight from the chef’s newest endeavor, Try This At Home. Pair with a glass of white wine, a beer, or a ginger cocktail, and you have yourself a night.
Richard Blais' Green Gazpacho: "I’m not talking about green heirloom tomatoes; I’m talking about home-growns that remain unripe and green at the end of the season. They are tart-and-tangy gems, and they give this soup a flavor reminiscent of guacamole-meets-salsa, only lighter."
— Sasha Levine, Lifestyle Mirror
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