All Your Recipe Needs for the Perfect Summer Grill Party

Summer Barbecue

WITH THESE SUMMER grill recipes, you can get out of the kitchen and still make a great dinner for your family and friends. Cooking and entertaining are simple with a grill, and we are not just talking burgers and steak. You can whip up a complete meal, including appetizers, salads and desserts in your backyard — an appealing idea in Marin, where most of us move our activity outdoors for the summer anyway. The following menu is 100 percent grill friendly and each recipe may easily be doubled for a larger party. So go on, get cooking.

Click through to each page for a recipe that can be made solely on the grill.

Grilled Baby Gem Salad Caesar Dressing

Plump baby gems hold their shape while grilling. Leave them on the grill just long enough to get a light char, but not too long or they will wilt.

Baby Gems



  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • ½ baguette, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed but still intact


  • 6 to 8 baby gems, depending on size
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup Parmesan shavings
  • Assorted microgreens for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To Prepare

Make the dressing: Combine all of the ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream to emulsify. Croutons: Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Brush the baguette slices with oil. Grill over direct heat until crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, turning as needed. Remove from the grill and rub with the garlic clove. Break into bite-size pieces. Salad: Lightly brush the baby gems with olive oil. Grill over direct heat until slightly charred but not wilted, 2 to 4 minutes, turning once. Transfer the wedges to a serving platter. Drizzle half the dressing over and turn to coat, then add more dressing to your taste. Scatter the croutons and Parmesan shavings over the lettuce. Garnish with microgreens and freshly ground black pepper. {SERVES 4}

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Parsley and Mint

Fingerling potatoes

Grilling the fingerlings over indirect heat allows them the time to slow-cook and crisp without burning. You can either grill the potatoes directly on the grates or in a preheated grill pan.


  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To Prepare

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (about 375°F). If you are using a grill pan, preheat the grill pan for about 10 minutes. Combine the potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Arrange the potatoes, cut-side down, on the grill, perpendicular to the grates (or cut-side down in the grill pan). Grill over indirect heat, with the lid closed, until the potatoes are tender, slightly flattened, and golden crisp on the cut sides, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt, the parsley, mint, garlic, lemon zest and pepper. Toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature. {SERVES 4}

Brick Chicken with Yogurt, Lemon & Garlic Marinade

Brick chicken

Brick chicken is a butterflied whole chicken traditionally cooked — you guessed it — under a brick. In this case we use a cast iron skillet (for the weight) on top. The key is to weigh down the flattened bird while it grills, which ensures quick and even cooking with crispy charred results. Ask your butcher to butterfly the chicken.



  • 1/3 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (3½-to-4-pound) whole chicken, butterflied

Lemon wedges and Italian parsley sprigs for garnish

To Prepare

Marinade: Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a baking dish. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, including between the breast skin and meat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Grill: Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat (about 400°F). Place the chicken, skin side down, over indirect heat. Place a large cast-iron skillet (or two foil-wrapped bricks) on top of the chicken. Close the grill lid and grill until the skin is golden brown and releases easily from the grates, about 25 minutes, checking from time to time to avoid burning. Using oven mitts, remove the skillet and carefully turn the chicken over with a spatula. Replace the skillet or bricks. Close the grill and cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife, 20 to 30 minutes more, depending on the size of the bird. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with lemon wedges and fresh Italian parsley. {SERVES 4}

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Rosemary Skewers


The rosemary sprigs will infuse the shrimp with flavor while grilling. They will also char, so before serving, remove the grilled rosemary sprigs and replace with fresh sprigs.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 large (16/20) shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails left intact
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, each slice cut in half lengthwise
  • 16 (1½-to-2-inch) rosemary sprigs, plus 16 for garnish

To Prepare

Whisk the oil, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Lightly brush the shrimp with the oil. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each shrimp. Thread a piece of rosemary through the prosciutto and shrimp to secure. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Grill the shrimp skewers over direct heat until the shrimp turn pink and the prosciutto begins to crisp, 5 to 7 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate. Remove the grilled rosemary sprigs and replace with a fresh sprig. Serve warm. {SERVES 4}

Nectarine & Blackberry Crisp with Almond Streusel

Nectarine and Blackberry crisp

Feel free to mix and match your favorite stone fruit and berries, such as peaches, plums, raspberries and blueberries, to your taste.



  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup lightly toasted almonds
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled


  • 6 large, ripe, but not too soft, nectarines, pitted, cut into
  • 1-inch chunks
  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

To Prepare

Streusel: Combine all the streusel ingredients, except the butter, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend and to coarsely chop the almonds. Add the butter and pulse until the streusel resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until use. Grill and Fill: Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (about 350°F). Butter an 8-by-8-inch gratin or grill-proof baking dish. Combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl and gently stir to coat. Pour the filling into the baking dish and spoon the streusel evenly over the top. Grill over indirect heat, with the grill lid closed, until the crisp is bubbling and the streusel is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove and cool slightly. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. {SERVES 6}


This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “Alfresco Eats.” 

Lynda Balslev

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food writer, editor and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She authors the nationally syndicated column and blog TasteFood, and co-authored the cookbook Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture (2015 Silver Medal Winner Independent Publisher Awards). She is the 2011 recipient of the Chronicle Books Award (Recipe Writing) to the Symposium for Professional Food Writers, and a 2018 Fellowship Award recipient to the Symposium for Wine Writers at Meadowood, Napa Valley. Lynda’s writing and photography have been recognized by the New York Times Diners Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post and more.