Savor the grilling season

Family Features | 8/17/2011, 1:13 p.m.

Grilling can bring so much more to the table than basic brats and burgers. In these recipes, cookbook author and celebrity chef Nick Stellino uses a few key ingredients that add new dimensions of flavor to seafood, steak and even salad. He calls on olive oil and vinegars from Pompeian to make savory marinades and zesty seasonings that will make you truly savor the grilling season.

Olive oil, a key component of the Mediterranean Diet, is a great way to follow the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which urge people to cut back on saturated fats and recommend an increase in monounsaturated fats. For more of Chef Stellino's recipes, as well as how-to videos, visit www.pompeian.com and "Like" Pompeian on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Pompeian.

Nick Stellino's Grilling Tips
* Grease grates of grill with Pompeian Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil before heating.
* Pre-heat barbecue with cover down (high for gas) for 15 minutes.
* Never cook fish or seafood over direct heat on a grill (gas or coals), as it scorches the exterior while leaving the interior undercooked. Shut down half of gas grill (or move coals from one half of grill to the other side) and put fish/shrimp on cool side of grill. Cover grill to cook.

Skewered Shrimp with Black Bean-Lemon Rice
Serves 4

3/4--cup Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4--cup Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar
3--tablespoons lemon juice
2--medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2--teaspoons salt
3/4--teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

24--large raw, headless, peeled shrimp, with tails on (about 1 pound)
24--whole green onions, trimmed to 6 inches in length
24--cherry tomatoes
2--poblano chili peppers, seeded and cut into 24 pieces
8--12-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water

3--cups hot cooked brown rice
15--ounces canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4--cup chopped cilantro
3--teaspoons grated lemon zest

Whisk marinade ingredients in small bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup mixture in separate bowl and set aside. Place shrimp in a resealable plastic bag, pour marinade over shrimp, seal tightly and coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes, turning frequently.

Remove shrimp from marinade (reserving marinade). Place shrimp on skewers, alternating with tomatoes, chilies and onions (folded in half).

Preheat grill on high heat. Brush skewers with reserved marinade and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until shrimp are opaque in center.

Place remaining marinade in a small saucepan on the grill to heat slightly. Toss rice with black beans, cilantro and lemon zest.

To serve: Top rice with skewers and spoon remaining marinade over skewers.

Tomato, Burrata and Arugula Salad
Serves 4 to 6

1/4--teaspoon salt
1/4--teaspoon pepper
1/4--teaspoon dried oregano
1/4--teaspoon sugar
4--large tomatoes, preferably heirloom
4--ounces baby arugula salad
3--tablespoons Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1--tablespoon Pompeian Balsamic Vinegar, divided
6 to 8--ounces burrata cheese, cut into 4 pieces, OR fresh mozzarella, cut into slices
1--ounce shaved Parmesan cheese

Mix dry spices and sugar together in small bowl.

Cut tomatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick; place on a tray and sprinkle with the spice mixture on each side. Let slices rest and absorb the flavor for about 10 to 15 minutes.