Summer is a time for grilling, and our June cookbook column highlights three books that will bring fresh ideas to your outdoor dinner table—like this recipe from Andrew Schloss and David Joachim's Fire it Up.

Mixed Grilled Beets with Orange-Hazelnut Gremolata

Beets contain about 6 percent sugar. When the beets are boiled, the sugar dissolves in the cooking liquid and you’re left with earthy-tasting tubers. But grill them and the sugars concentrate and caramelize, transforming the beets into a sort of vegetable candy. In this recipe, their sweetness gets a complement of pungent herb relish. Gremolata is a classic Italian garnish for osso buco. Usually it’s made with garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, and parsley. Ours is more fragrant; we swap tarragon for some of the parsley and hazelnuts for the pine nuts.

makes 4 servings

  • 4 multicolored beets, such as red, golden, and Chioggia (about 18 ounces total)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably smoked

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, preferably smoked

Orange-Hazelnut Gremolata:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh tarragon or mint leaves

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

  • 1 tablespoon blanched hazelnuts

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Pinch of sugar

Light a grill for direct medium heat, about 400ºF. Scrub the beets well, then slice about 1/4 inch thick. Combine the oil, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the beets and coat well.

For the orange-hazelnut gremolata: Combine the garlic, parsley, mint, orange zest, hazelnuts, salt, pepper, and sugar in a minichopper or a small food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and granular in texture, but not pureed.

Brush the grill grate and coat with oil. Grill the beet slices directly over the heat until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Arrange on a platter and top with the gremolata.

Excerpted from Fire It Up: More Than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books (2011). All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.

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