Master summer entertaining with Miguel Maestre


With the abundance of fresh seasonal produce bursting with flavour this summer, cooking outdoors has never tasted so good. CW food writer Fiona Williams caught up with Australian Mushrooms, and fun-guy, ambassador Miguel Maestre to share his top tips when firing up the grill.

What does summer entertaining mean to you?

To me, summer entertaining is about delicious food and making the food the entertainment itself. That’s why things such as paella, a big barbecue, a pizza oven, a spit roast or simply shucking some oysters becomes the soul of the party, and of course plenty of sangria with family and friends.

Describe your ideal summer barbecue?

As long as I’m with my family and my children I’m happy. However, for an ideal Australian barbecue, some of my essentials are prawn cocktails, tapas (including garlic mushrooms and Jamón), paella, pavlova, trifle and lots of cherries.

What’s the best way to keep things simple in the kitchen?

Preparation is key to any barbecue or entertaining. Plan your menu, and consider recipes where you can prep parts of the dishes in advance – that way you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating with your family and friends. Try not to get overwhelmed by having too many dishes. A simple idea is to make dishes that your guests can either cook or create themselves – such as my mushroom tacos.

Your top summer ingredients to work with?

Nothing beats fresh, local produce as it’s guaranteed to be in season. Mushrooms are available all year round and are my favourite addition to any party. They are so tasty and easy to cook on the barbecue and also give a delicious, rich flavour to any dish.

Crunchy soft mushroom tacos

Recipe courtesy of Miguel Maestre for Australian Mushrooms

Serves: 6

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 5 mins

Baja sauce

  • 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
  • 10 pickled green peppercorns
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mortar and pestle (or a small food processor) until all ingredients are smooth. Set aside.

Corn salsa

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tin canned corn
  • 2 tomatoes, cores removed, diced same size corn kernels
  • Leaves from 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 1/2 red onion, diced size of kernels
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat up one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pan over a high heat. Sauté corn for two minutes until golden, add to a bowl with the rest of ingredients, then mix together. Set aside.

Mexican mushrooms

  • 4 flat mushrooms, cut in thick slices
  • 3 Tbsp Mexican seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried chilli optional
  • Splash extra virgin olive oil

Marinate the mushrooms with all ingredients. Pan-fry on a medium heat for two minutes on each side to avoid burning the marinade. Set aside.

Crunchy soft tacos

  • 6 taco shells
  • 6 soft tortillas, softened on an open flame (or in the microwave)
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Splash lime juice
  • Dash extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut both avocados in half and remove each pip, setting aside. Using a fork inside each half, mash the avocado together with lime juice, sour cream and olive oil to form a rough guacamole. To preserve the bright green and avoid oxidation, you can return the pips to the centre of the avocados and stick the halves together to close till you are ready to use. Spread each soft tortilla with a spoonful of guacamole, then wrap around the hard taco shell. Gently press the soft tortilla to the sides of the hard taco shells, using the guacamole as a glue. Repeat with remaining taco shells and soft tortillas. To serve, spoon a little of the salsa into the base of the hard taco, top with Mexican mushrooms and drizzle with Baja sauce. Eat immediately.

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