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Chef Fabio Viviani’s summer grilling recipes

Summertime means succulent grilled meals enjoyed al fresco with family and friends. Even though dining outdoors, basking in the warm weather, can make everything taste better, sinking your teeth into truly delicious foods is the way summer should be spent. We turned to Chef Fabio Viviani, the Top Chef’s Season 5 fan favorite and owner of Firenze Osteria Restaurant and Martini Bar, for a few of his top-notch grilling recipes. Juicy skewers of flavorful meats partnered with salads featuring seasonal fruit, veggies and herbs will be an instant hit with your backyard grillfest guests.

Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Salad

The dish on Chef Fabio Viviani

Chef Fabio Viviani

If you are a regular viewer of Bravo’s reality cooking series Top Chef, you’ll easily remember Chef Fabio Viviani , a star chef in Season 5. The Italian native, who was born and raised in Florence, is trained in classic Italian and Mediterranean cuisines and incorporates Italian, French and Spanish influences into his recipes. He is the owner and executive chef of Firenze Osteria Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar in Toluca Lake, California, and just recently signed on to be Bertolli’s spokesperson. In addition, the Top Chef fan favorite is working on launching the Firenze4Kids Foundation, which will promote health and wellness for kids through good nutrition, as well as the site, an online resource of information focused on healthy lifestyles for kids.

Ready to get grilling?

Summer grilling recipes

Recipes courtesy of Chef Fabio Viviani, owner and executive chef of Firenze Osteria Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar, recently opened in Toluca Lake, California.

Grilled Chicken Skewers with Sausage and Pancetta

Grilled Chicken Skewers with Sausage and Pancetta

Serves 4

This is a grilled meal boasting summer flavors. Succulent skewers of chicken and your favorite sausage wrapped with pancetta and partnered with a roasted cherry and basil sauce will quickly become your favorite go-to grill party meal. If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading with food.

3 chicken breasts, cubed
5 to 6 sausages
8 to 10 thin slices of pancetta
Bertolli Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil
20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Take metal or bamboo skewers and alternate pieces of chicken and sausage. Wrap skewers with slices of pancetta, about two pieces per skewer.

2. Place skewers on grill. Brush skewers with olive oil while cooking. Grill for 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

3. Meanwhile, in a cast iron pan on the grill, combine tomatoes, basil and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté until tomatoes are almost stewed. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Place the cooked skewers on a plate and top with cherry tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped basil.

Skewered Sea Bass with Spinach Pesto and Mango Salad

Serves 6

A signature recipe debuted by Chef Fabio Viviani at the 2010 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, this impressive grilled meal features garlicky pesto, a sweet mango salad, and meaty skewers of fish.

Spinach pesto:
1 pound baby spinach
5 cloves garlic
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mango salad:
3 semi-ripe mangos, sliced julienne with a kitchen mandolin
10 cherry tomatoes, finely diced
2 green onions, chopped
5 fresh basil leaves, sliced julienne

6 mint leaves, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds fish, diced into 1-inch cubes

1. For the pesto, blend ingredients together in a food processor until very smooth. Set aside.

2. For the salad, combine ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

3. For the fish, combine mint, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a shallow dish or gallon-sized zip-top plastic bag. Add fish and marinate for up to 1 hour.

4. Thread fish onto metal or bamboo skewers. Grill on high until fish is done on all sides.

5. To serve, spoon a bit of pesto on the bottom of a plate, place the skewers on top and finish with the mango salad.

Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Salad

Serves 4

Boasting the flavors of summer, this roasted vegetable salad can be a complete meal all on its own.

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika

6 roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch ribbons
Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 (6-ounce) balls of buffalo mozzarella, cut into 3/4-inch slices
Approximately 10 large leaves of fresh basil
Shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, zucchini and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

3. Roast tomatoes and zucchini on the grill for about 10 minutes (use a grill basket if necessary), or until nice and evenly roasted.

4. To assemble the salad, place the tomato, piece of folded zucchini and mozzarella on top of each other, like a tower, with a basil leaf in between layers, seasoning each layer with a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of dressing. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan.

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