This week we look at super salads to serve at your summer BBQ, and the best drinks to match
There are surely steak-only dieters somewhere out there but most people with a head on their shoulders would agree that it’s not a good barbecue with a few great salads. You need that crunch and tang of the dressing to counter all the rich barbecued offerings. And it’s the tang of the dressings - whether they be made with lemon juice or vinegar - that can wreak havoc with drink-matching.
Let's start with wine - you’ll need a good amount of acid in your wine to hold up to the acid of the dressing. Try something with a herbaceous element like Brancott Estate Terroir Sauvignon or Jules Taylor Gruner Veltliner. If the dressing is creamy, then a creamy Chardonnay is a good match: Dashwood is a good pick. And a dry sparkling can work well with both, something like the Cloudy Bay Pelorus which will also lift the celebration spirits. If you’re integrating barbecue with salad, such a grilled beef salad, a Beaujolais of Gamay might work nicely.
Light, leafy salads with vinaigrette generally go nicely with wheat beers: try Tutara Hefe. Whereas Emersons Pilsner is the perfect crisp foil for a creamy potato salad. A cider, like Old Mout, offers a good balance to crisp and bitter leaves, like rocket.
Cocktails can be a versatile drink option. If there’s fruit involved - a lovely watermelon and feta salad for example, or perhaps avocado or even a ripe tomato (yup, it’s a fruit!), a sweet vermouth will be delicious, or a bittersweet and citrusy Negroni. The other great thing with cocktail and food pairings is you can always tweak the cocktail by adding more citrus, a little more sweetness, as you go, or adding herbs like mint and rosemary to pair with flavours in the dish - which you can’t do with wine or beer.
Extra for experts
Grill slices of summer stonefruit (peach, nectarine, apricot, plum), pineapple, as well as cheeks of lemon, orange or lime on the barbecue until caramelised round the edges. Great to throw into a green salad, or use as a sweet, smoky addition to cocktails:
Spear fruit on a skewer and place in individual glasses
Use instead of slices of fresh fruit in a rum punch
Spike a crisp lager with a grilled lemon cheek or pop a grilled lime cheek into a capirinha