When Dave Pynt first came up with the idea for Burnt Enz – his vibey weekend barbecue on the forecourt of the East London arch where Climpson & Sons roast their coffee – he thought ribs, he thought sausages, he thought burgers. ‘Just all the normal things you do on a barbecue.’ But the Burnt Enz barbecue isn’t normal: it’s a custom-designed, brick-built monster that can take whole pigs, and gets very hot indeed. A Rolls Royce of a barbie, which Perth-raised Dave plans to auction off at the end of summer for a five-figure sum.

Anyway, Dave’s experience at the Loft and with the Young Turks, not to mention his time at legendary Spanish grill restaurant Extebarri, meant he had the moves to plan more elegant summer menus, featuring dishes such as hake, fennel and clams to share, bone marrow with watercress on toast, and grilled courgette with broad beans, ricotta and green sauce. ‘The more I thought about it, the more I realised: this is tastier,’ he says. The Burnt Enz faithful agree – by 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays we’ve always seen lots of crossings-out on the blackboard menus.

We went down to Burnt Enz on a smoky summer evening, and asked Dave to zap us with some good advice for home BBQ fanatics, while he knocked us up some crab with aïoli. ‘The crab is a beautiful sharing summer dish,’ says Dave. ‘It’s one of those things that everyone thinks is phenomenal. You boil them first, then smoke them on the barbecue.

Dave Pynt’s smoky crab with aioli

You’ll need (for one cocktail)

  • Live large brown crabs
  • Garlic flowers (optional)
  • For the aïoli:
  • Three eggs
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 300ml vegetable oil
  • 300ml olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Salt

A sneaky tip from the expert

When you’re cooking with wood you need one and a half to two hours to allow the wood to break down into coals to use for grilling. If you’re basically cooking over a log, you won’t get that intense heat.
  • 1

    To prepare your crabs, ask your fishmonger for detailed instructions, but start by killing them humanely, spiking them through the hole underneath the stomach flap.

  • 2

    To cook, place in boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on how big they are. Plunge them into iced water until cold, then remove the top shell and pull away the small stomach sac and the gills and discard them. Crack the claws, then put the crab back together.

  • 3

    To make the aïoli, put the eggs, Dijon, lemon juice and garlic cloves in a blender and blitz until well combined. Slowly add the oils until the mixture firms up. Add salt to taste.

  • 4

    Now, put the crabs on the grill, with just a gently heat tickling them. Spray gently with vegetable oil to create smoke, which will impart a wonderful flavour. Continue smoking for about ten minutes until the top shell is warm to the touch.

  • 5

    Serve with aïoli, and garlic flowers if they’re in season.

Burnt Enz at the Climpsons’ Roastery, Arch 374, Helmsley Place, E8 3SB (www.facebook.com/BurntEnz/)


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