Bobby Flay’s Grill It! is a good grilling cookbook for anyone who likes firing up the grill on a Saturday afternoon. Or any other day of the week, for that matter. His recipes do a get little fancy, but those who prefer plain cooking can modify the recipes accordingly and there is enough information in the book to recommend it even to those cooks.
To begin with, Flay’s take on the age-old charcoal versus gas debate is simple: use whichever one you prefer. This is a refreshing change of pace from the chefs that insist you absolutely must use one or the other or your food will turn out bad. He give you tips on how to use both kinds and then tells you how to pick out your grill based on price, number of BTUs, type of grate, vent, capacity and more.
Flay’s grilling advice does not stop there; he tells you how to control your fire, how to start that fire, explains the different kinds of heat, and tells you good ways to check for doneness. He also gives you tips on such important matters as keeping your chicken breasts moist. No one wants to eat a dry chicken breast, after all. He also gives you a list of all the grilling tools you should have on hand to grill whatever you want. In addition, he talks about the concept of a grilling pantry and what you should keep in it. This is a useful concept for those who want to grill but do not want to have to run to the store to get seasonings or marinades every time the urge hits them. The back of the book even includes a resource guide with recommendations on where to buy supplies and ingredients.
The book includes 150 recipes for everything from seafood to vegetables. A number of the recipes are used in Flay’s restaurants, and he introduces each recipe with personal comments. One disappointing aspect of the book is that not all of the recipes include pictures. Most do, but not all, and highly visual cooks will be disappointed by this lack.
All of the recipes are organized around the idea that people go shopping and then decide what to cook, so the book is divided into sections based on ingredients. The first section is devoted to vegetables, and it is followed by sections devoted to beef, pork, chicken and seafood. He even tells you how to grill fruit.
Each section has some amazing recipes. “Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto,” from the vegetable section, sounds straightforward but is simply amazing. The Grilled Chicken Thighs with Green Olives and Sherry Orange Vinegar sauce is also delightful.
One of the other things Flay does that sets him apart from other chefs is present a base recipe and then add in alternatives. For example, in the beef section he describes the best way to grill a steak. What you need to do, how long to cook it for each degree of doneness and how long to let it rest. He then spends a good bit of time going over the different variations of this recipe and recommending different marinades and sauces. He does the same thing with chicken breasts in the chicken section. This book is as much of a how-to book as a recipe book in some respects.
The seafood section contains recipes devoted to tuna, shrimp, salmon, scallops, white fish and lobster. Some of the vegetable recipes include eggplant, mushrooms and squash. Some example recipes from the book are Turkey Burgers with Apple Raita and Spinach, Grilled Sea Scallops on Tortilla Chips with Avocado Puree and Jalapeno Pesto, and Spicy Buffalo Style Burger with Celery-Carrot Slaw and Blue Cheese Dressing.
Finally, Flay offers you a number of recipes for gourmet spice rubs, salsas, marinades, relishes, butters, glazes and more. One thing this cookbook can not be accused of lacking is mouth-watering flavor.