Frank Camorra's lamb pincho and quinoa tabbouleh.

Moorish influence ... Frank Camorra's lamb pincho and quinoa tabbouleh. Photo: Marina Oliphant

The smell of burning charcoal brings back memories of my father and me in the backyard grilling an endless variety of meats, fish or smallgoods. He used to be a boilermaker and built his own charcoal grill.

Pinchos, or skewers, are his favourite. He is so passionate about them he makes them for every family barbecue. Recently, he prepared a plate of succulent lamb pincho for my son's birthday.

You don't need to build your own grill, though – a Weber or gas barbecue with a grill plate will work fine.
If you're using charcoal, plan ahead and get it burning for 30 to 40 minutes before needed so the coals are glowing hot with not too much flame.

These lamb skewers are marinated in a mix of crisp sherry, herbs and some of the spices introduced to Spain during the Moorish occupation. The fino sherry cuts through the fattiness of the lamb, and the spices accentuate the smokiness of the char-grilling.

This version of tabbouleh is an interesting variation on an old favourite.

LAMB PINCHO

1kg lamb leg, deboned, sinew removed, cut into 1.5cm cubes

For the marinade:
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground cumin
60ml olive oil
125ml fino sherry
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup curly parsley, chopped

To baste:
60ml fino
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 lemon

Mix marinade ingredients thoroughly. Add diced lamb. Work marinade into meat. Leave overnight. Thread lamb onto 8-10 long metal skewers. Don't bunch the meat too tightly, so it cooks evenly. Pre-heat barbecue grill to medium. For the baste, mix fino, cayenne pepper and paprika. Place lemon half on a fork, flesh facing outwards, and use as a brush to apply basting mix to meat. Put skewers on the grill and cook for 15-20minutes, turning and basting several times. Remove from heat. Allow to rest for 5minutes before serving.
Makes 8 skewers


TOMATO AND QUINOA TABBOULEH

20g butter
20ml olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
3 bay leaves
200g quinoa
1 handfuls mint, roughly chopped
3 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, roughly
chopped
1 continental cucumber peeled,
deseeded, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt
Black pepper

Heat butter and olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, celery and bay leaves, and sweat until soft. Add quinoa and enough water to cover by 1cm. Increase heat and simmer until liquid evaporates. Place on a plate and chill. Place all remaining ingredients, except for olive oil and lemon juice, in a bowl. When quinoa is cool, add to the bowl and dress with oil andjuice. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Serves 8

Barcelona-born Frank Camorra is chef and co-owner of MoVida Sydney and Melbourne's MoVida Bar de Tapas.