’Tis the season for rubbing and brining, marinating and glazing and putting practically everything under the sun on the grill. To get you going, there are two terrific, very different new additions to the ever-growing group of grilling guides. In Just Grill This!, Sam Zien, aka Sam the Cooking Guy, brings his signature simple, straightforward style to food cooked on a grill. His “equipment” section is only two pages long, and his basic seasoning rub is brown sugar and your favorite seasoning salt, with these succinct instructions: “Mix. Use.” Even his elegant (definitely not a Sam word) Sea Bass with Lemon & Capers or whole filet of beef rubbed with garlic and rosemary are the essence of easy. From “Small Things,” including The Most Basic (and Best) Bruschetta Ever, to “Things Not Normally Grilled,” like Grilled Hearts of Romaine, to “Grilling Inside” and even desserts, Sam covers the territory, has a grand time doing it and encourages you to follow his irreverent lead.

Andrew Schloss and David Joachim, grilling advocates extraordinaire, know that “these days, it’s all about the ingredients.” So, in Fire It Up, with fabulous full-color photos throughout, they explain the best ways to grill over 290 foods from abalone to edamame, goat and goose to zucchini. Each ingredient-based chapter has an “at-a-glance chart,” showing different cuts and/or varieties, alternate names used in the marketplace, good substitutions and those all-important “best grilling methods.” The recipes are sensational, offering new ways and new ideas to make grilling more thrilling—just consider Chimichurri Beef Kebabs with Yams and Chorizo, Mixed Grilled Beets with Orange-Hazelnut Gremolata, Pesto-Stuffed Prawns with Guacamole Vinaigrette and Amaretto-Seared Apricots with Almond Praline. Helpful header notes, detailed directions and “Know-How” notes, with must-have info, make each dish a different, doable delight.

Seafood is a big, beautifully designed book, elaborately and engagingly illustrated with full-color photos and packed to the gills with information and more than 300 recipes. And there’s nothing fishy about its emphasis on making responsible buying choices, checking on where your sole or salmon comes from and using sustainable alternatives for overfished varieties. As you browse these fabulous recipes, you’ll find a fish dish to satisfy every piscatorial yearning, from savory starters, soups, pastas, pies, risottos and curries to fish and shellfish that are baked, broiled, fried, roasted, poached and grilled. Some are tried-and-true, like Maryland Crabcakes and Linguine alle Vongole, while others are more exotic and new, such as Keralan Prawn Soup and Grilled Sea Bass with Roast Artichokes and Fennel. A comprehensive section on techniques leaves nothing to the imagination. In step-by-step photos you’ll actually see how to skin a skate wing, clean squid, make gravadlax, slice fish for sushi, serve a whole cooked fish and more; then the Fish Gallery offers a who’s who that lets you get up close and personal with all your old and new fine-finned friends. Seafood is an essential kitchen companion and a perfect gift for foodie fathers.


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