Food Matters with Aisling Larkin

Food Matters - BBQ Salads & Top Tips

Food Matters - BBQ Salads & Top Tips
Ray Colclough
Ray Colclough

In Episode 10 of Food Matters well-renowned Chef, TV Cook, and Food Media Broadcaster Aisling Larkin chats about BBQ Salads & Top Tips.

Get yourself ready for all the summer cookouts here are some recipes:

Potato, Asparagus, Radish & Lentil Salad

500g new potatoes, halved
1 bunch asparagus
(about 250g / 9 oz; or 12 spears) woody ends removed
1 pack green beans (about 200g / 7 oz) trimmed
300g radishes,   trimmed & halved
1 x 250g pack cooked Puy lentils (or 1 x 400g / 14 oz tin green lentils, drained)
handful of basil (about 30g / 1 oz) roughly chopped

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tahini


1 Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 15–20 minutes until tender (and easily pierced with a sharp knife); add the asparagus and green beans for the final 3–4 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water until cool to the touch.
2 Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, along with a generous pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper — you can do this in the salad serving bowl, to save on washing up.
3 Place the cooked vegetables in the serving bowl with the dressing, then add the radishes, lentils and basil; toss everything together and season to taste.

Panzanella Salad



  • 200 g stale ciabatta loaf
  • 600 g ripe mixed tomatoes, , roughly chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful small capers , drained
  • 1 small red onion , peeled and very finely sliced
  • 280 g jarred red peppers , drained and roughly chopped
  • optional: 8 anchovy fillets in oil , drained and finely sliced
  • red wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a bunch of fresh basil



  1. Tear the ciabatta into rough 3cm pieces and place on a tray. Leave aside in a warm place for around 30 minutes – this helps to dry it out.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Rinse the capers, squeezing out any excess liquid and add to the bowl, along with the onion, peppers, ciabatta and anchovies, if using. Toss the mixture together with your hands, then stir in 2 tablespoons of vinegar and about 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add a little more salt, pepper, vinegar or oil, if needed.
  3. Tear in the basil leaves, stir together and serve. Delicious with barbecued meats or roast chicken.

Tarragon Potato Salad


For the dressing



  • STEP 1 Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the potatoes in a large pan of water, cover and bring to a boil, then cook for 5 mins until tender. Drain well. Tip the potatoes onto a baking tray, toss in the oil, add some seasoning and cook for 45 mins until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  • STEP 2Mix the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and toss together to coat. Chill for up to 24 hrs or eat straight away.

Pasta salad with Roast Vegetables and salsa verde

500g Pasta Rigatoni


Roast Vegetables

2 courgettes

2 peppers

1 red onion

1 aubergine

75g miso paste

3 tbsp olive oil



Salsa Verde

Big handfuls of parsley, chives, coriander, mint,

3 anchovy pieces

3/4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp capers

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

6 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sea salt.

500g mini mozzerella balls

2tbsp chopped basil



  • Indirect heat uses the heat generated by your BBQ’s burners to heat the grill cavity. It is very similar to cooking in an oven. This technique is ideal for things that take a little longer to cook, like roasts, chicken, and even baked goods. To achieve a successful indirect cook, turn on the burners on one side of the grill, or the two outside burners leaving the inside burners off. Place the food over the burners that are not on.
  • Colour Guide: Use our colour code guide to help decide when to start cooking your food:
  • Black or grey with flames: Not ready yet. Step away, have a beer and relax.
  • Glowing white hot with red centres (blow very gently to check): Ready for direct heat.
  • Ashy white but still very hot: Ready for indirect heat or cooking in the coals.


  • Use a thermometer -  Bluetooth connected, thermapen and an old-school manual probe
  • Interntal temp -  75℃
  • Oxygen is the key for a barbecue to maintain a steady temperature. If you find your coals are getting a little cool, fan the flames a little to get the heat back. Be very careful not to let the flames touch the food though as they will leave carbon on the food which gives a bitter and burnt taste. Lower the flames and aim for white smoke.
  • Master the art of Searing -  direct Heat  -  why -  seal the flavours, love that char flavour and the mallards reaction - Amino acids react with sugars to build new chemical compounds, changing the color and texture of the meat's surface.
  • Control Heat - Keeping the temperature low to medium will lessen the chance of flare-ups. Also, avoid placing food directly over the heat source. Instead, use indirect heat, which involves turning off one side of the grill and placing the food on the opposite side
  • Fire Safety - Baking soda is the most effective form of fire extinguisher; it quickly cuts off the oxygen supply to the flame. Keep a box or 2 in or near your grill station, as well as a fire extinguisher. Salt will also work in smothering a flame. baking soda is effective because it releases carbon dioxide when heated, which can smother the fire. Salt forms a barrier between the fire and the air.
  • Start with the best quality meat & produce you can buy and the most lovely in-season vegetables.
  • Marinade your meat, fish, veg - it is the only way
  • Tongs are so important -  not to pierce the meat and release the juices and they give you the most control and reduce the chances of dropping anything between the grills.
  • Prep some salads
  • Temper your ingredients - Prevent Fridge Chill Have your meat out for the fridge for about 30 minutes before cooking  -  not in the blistering sunshine but in a cool area. Tempering is the process of taking your ingredients out of the fridge and bringing them up to room temperature before cooking. If the meat is too cold when it hits the grill it could burn on the outside before it’s cooked through.
  • Smoky Char comes from the fat hitting the flames -  All of that smoky goodness comes from fat. The trick is to add fat to anything that doesn’t contain a lot naturally (vegetables, lean meats such as fillets, fruits).
  • Rest your meat after  - don't season or over-oil too early ….
  • Fish on the BBQ - oak smoker ….. side of salmon, sea trout
  • Sides are never an afterthought -  they make up 2/3rds of what you are eating
  • Potato salad -  gherkins or gherkin juice in with the mayo, chives, sea salt and black pepper
  • Local salad leaves - green goddess dressing on simple leaves or my self-care salad dressing
  • Slaw v coleslaw -  which one do you love  -  gut health  -  sauerkraut, hot sauce, fermented food, pickling

Some of Aisling's favourite recipes

Pow wow burgers  -  beef burgers, tikka pasta, crispy onion bhajis, mango chutney, garlic mint mayo and sweet potato fries

Probiotic slaw

Super green baby potato salad

Maple and soy glazed salmon

Sweet Potato and Black bean Burgers

One and only salad dressing -  honey mustard dressing with local leaves


Griddled Peaches, raspberries, bourbon vanilla ice cream


Tinto Verano

Sangria Blanca

Raspberry Caiprioka ( Ingredients 60 mls vodka, 75 g fresh raspberries or raspberry puree, 1/2 juice of a lime, 2 sprigs thyme, 1.5 tsp brown sugar, 30 mls soda water )


For past Food Matters episodes click HERE