Every year they lighten the mood and brighten the province
Braaibroodjie Recipe for National Braai Day
Add a little gourmet flavour to the most basic of braai trimmings
It seems that no matter how far the human race has evolved since Palaeolithic time, we still hold fast to our roots: we make fire!
Americans do it in style with their state-of-the-art barbeques; the Australians, on the other hand, like to throw some ‘shrimp on the barbie’; and we, South Africans, have perfected the delicate art of braai.
And what is a South African braai without its best supporting actor, the braaibroodjie? This South African braai staple is usually served on white or brown bread; spread with lashings of butter on the outside, and filled with thick, juicy slices of tomato, onion and cheese on the inside. It’s merely necessary to throw the sandwhich on the braai, and keep your salivating mouth occupied with an ice-cold beer until the bread is nice and toasted on the outside, and the mix is gooey in the middle.
In celebration of Heritage Day, otherwise known as National Braai Day, we gave the humble braaibroodjie a gourmet twist, while still retaining its cheesy soul. Our version of the braaibroodjie is made with sourdough bread, slow roasted tomatoes, red onion marmalade and buffalo mozzarella.
Long live the braaibroodjie!
GOURMET BRAAIBROODJIE RECIPE
Sourdough bread, sliced
100g buffalo mozzarella, sliced
Slow-roasted tomatoes (see recipe underneath)
Red onion marmalade (see recipe underneath)
Butter, to spread
Watercress, to serve
Spread butter evenly on one side of the slices of sourdough bread. On the other side of the slices, generously spread the red onion marmalade. Then, in between two slices, sandwich together the slow roasted tomatoes and sliced mozzarella (with the butter side facing out), and place on the grill until the bread is nicely toasted and the mozzarella is melted. Serve with watercress leaves to add some freshness and bite to the braaibroodjie.
RED ONION MARMALADE
1kg red onions or regular onions
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
70g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp fresh thyme leave
175ml sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Halve and thinly slice the onions, then thinly slice the garlic. Melt the butter with the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the onions and garlic and give them a good stir so they are glossed with butter. Sprinkle over the sugar, thyme leaves and some salt and pepper. Give everything another really good stir, and reduce the heat slightly. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions are ready when all of their juices have evaporated; they should be really soft and sticky and should smell of sugar caramelising. More specifically, they should be so soft that they break when pressed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Pour in the vinegar and simmer, still uncovered, over a medium heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring every so often until the onions are a deep mahogany colour. Leave the onions to cool in the pan, and then scoop into sterilised jars and seal. Can be eaten straight away, but keeps in the fridge for up to 3 months.
SLOW-ROASTED VINE TOMATOES
12 small tomatoes, on the vine
2 tsp thyme, leaves finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a small bowl, combine the thyme, garlic, salt and ground black pepper. Place the tomatoes in a roasting tray, just big enough to hold all the tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, and add the thyme and garlic mixture into tray. Give the tomatoes a thorough mix through with your hands, and roast the tomatoes for 20-30 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened.
---By Adri de Kock