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12 key recipes to up your grilling game

12 Recipes
Grilled Baby New Potato Salad with French Green Beans and Mint.
(Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times)

Grilling beyond burgers, steaks and ribs

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With the last of summer’s official grill fests a few weeks away, now is a good time to try out some new techniques and recipes and perhaps get creative with what may already be in your recipe file, refrigerator or pantry.

Fish on the grill can be challenging even for well-seasoned cooks. To understand the why as well as the how, read up on the art and science of grilling fish. Russ Parsons gives clear explanations, tips and tricks. After all, grilled fish — whole, fillets and steaks — should be in every good cook’s repertoire.

For practice with whole fish, try succulent mackerel with salmoriglio. To advance your skills grilling skin-on filets, sardines with white bean salad and pesto are a good bet. Silky grilled salmon with dill will teach you yet another trick. And grilled swordfish with quick-crushed potatoes is a luscious way to practice grilling fish steaks.

If you’d like to go beyond basic grilled vegetables, add some new vegetable-forward recipes to your repertoire. Grilled avocado jazzes up a marinated tomato salad. This grilled baby new potato salad is a light, mayonnaise-free spin on the classic picnic dish. A grilled wild mushroom salad is full of umami and contrasting textures. Penne with grilled vegetables is a good reminder to always grill a few extra veggies for a future meal, to toss with pasta, grains or greens.

Desserts are another way to expand your grilling horizons. Bake (or buy) a basic pound cake, toast it on the grill and top it with grilled peaches and whiskey caramel sauce. Feel free to swap out the peaches for any other stone fruit — nectarines, apricots, plums, pluots, et. al. — they are all great on the grill. Or try full-on “baking” on your grill. A bread pudding tastes different when cooked on a grill than in the oven, as you will experience with salted caramel bread pudding. Fudgy gluten-free skillet brownies are moist and chewy with a charred crust, and they can bake on the grill while you eat your main course.

Whether you seek new dishes for your next gathering or to take your grilling skills to the next level, these recipes will help.

Grilled Swordfish With Quick Crushed Potatoes and Parsley-Caper Relish

Grilled scallions add smoky depth to an herb-packed relish to spoon over grilled swordfish, potatoes and green beans.
Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Grilled sardines with white bean salad and pesto

Sardines grilled on the skin side only are served on a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and white beans and drizzled with a quickly made pesto.
Time35 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Grilled mackerel with salmoriglio

Salmoriglio adds the pungent perfume of fresh oregano to the common combination of good olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and sea salt. It is good with grilled mackerel and swordfish.
Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Grilled salmon with dill

A simple sauce of mayonnaise and dill is brushed on the salmon before grilling.
Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Grilled vegetables

Grilled vegetables are perfect for everyday meals, special occasions and everything in between.
Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Grilled baby new potato salad

Grilled potatoes and green beans are tossed in a light, minty Dijon-balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing, subtly smoky potato salad.
Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 6

Grilled Wild Mushroom Salad

Portabello, crimini and shiitake mushrooms are marinated in a balsamic shallot dressing, grilled and tossed with baby greens, Gorgonzola cheese and Parmesan croutons.
Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Penne With Grilled Vegetables

Sliced, olive-oil-brushed peppers, sweet onions and cherry tomatoes cooked crisp-tender with slightly charred edges along with fresh herbs dazzle a pound of pasta.
Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Grilled avocado with marinated tomato salad

Grilled avocado halves are topped with cherry tomatoes marinated in a piquant vinaigrette of olive oil, Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar, onion, basil, capers and garlic.
Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Grilled poundcake with peaches and whiskey caramel sauce

The flames toast the sugars at the edges of the cake in a seductive way and give a caramelized nuttiness to the fruit. A drizzle of whiskey caramel sauce gilds the lily.
Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Salted caramel bread pudding

A custardy, creamy bread pudding gets a hint of smokiness from baking it on a grill. The salted caramel sauce further complements the woodsy flavor.
Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Gluten-free skillet brownies

These chocolatey brownies come off the grill with a thick charred crust, a soft chewy center and a subtle, smokey aroma and flavor.
Time1 hour
YieldsServes 8 to 12