Cooking with fire Bobby Flay, known for his bold approach to American food, his fabulous New York restaurants, and his fabulously popular Food Network shows, considers grilling to be his true calling. His grilling memories go back to early childhood biting into fire-seared burgers, sweet corn, and lobsters in the backyard of his family's seaside summer house. Grilling has always been the focal point of the restaurants he's worked in and owned, and now the focus, too, of his TV series. So, a major grilling cookbook is surely in order and that is exactly what you get in Boy Meets Grill. There are over 125 clear, easy-to-follow recipes for meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, vegetables, side dishes, even drinks and desserts. And all of them have that special Flay flare, an excitement sparked by his unique culinary imagination. Just thinking about Softshell Crab Sandwiches with Basil Pesto Dressing and Jicama Slaw, a Porterhouse Steak with Tamarind Barbecue Sauce and Basil-Marinated Tomatoes, or Grilled Mushroom and Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard Dressing may set your taste buds on fire and ignite your passion for gastronomic grilling. Simplicity is the name of the game a light brush with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. But you're encouraged, of course, to experiment with the marvelous marinades and redolent rubs offered here. Try rib eye steak in a garlicky, herbaceous Chimichurri marinade, turkey breast in a gingery Molasses-Orange variation, or sophisticated Tarragon-Marinated Lamb Chops; rub salmon with a heady red chile mixture or a boneless leg of lamb with exotic Moroccan-inspired spices. After Grilling Pull Out All the Stops : In other words, accessorize with creative condiments that can be made well ahead of time; serve Mango Ketchup or Roasted Tomato Ketchup with burgers, Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa with chicken breasts, Fig and Nectarine Relish with tuna steaks, Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce with shrimp. Do What Works. The Grill is Not Sacred : Don't fret about pre-cooking certain foods that dry out or take too long on the grill. And if you want to sear some fish for that grilled-in flavor and finish it in the oven, that's OK, too. If Bobby Flay has his way, you'll meet your grill with new skill, new recipes, and new enthusiasm, and agree heartily that grilling means good times and great food.

Sybil Pratt is an avid cook.

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