We routinely toast hamburger and hot dog buns over the glowing embers when cooking out, but rarely other breads. Yet, the barbecue is still hot after grilling and available to quickly grill bread to accompany -- and add to -- the meal.

A Mediterranean celebration is even better with pita bread, as are a southwestern barbecue with jalapenåo corn bread, a brunch with bagels, an antipasto party with Italian bread, a Mexican fiesta with fresh corn or flour tortillas and any sunny picnic with French baguettes.

Bread can be grilled plain as a warm and crispy accompaniment or with a variety of flavored butters, oils, herbs, crunchy seasonings and zesty spices.

My favorite basting sauce for grilling bread is butter and garlic olive oil mixed with minced fresh chives, parsley and a pinch of hot Hungarian paprika. Or a fragrant oil -- sesame, Oriental chile, walnut, almond, hazelnut or avocado -- can be combined with butter to complement the seasonings in the food.

A splash of worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, freshly squeezed lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato paste or rice vinegar enhances the basic flavor base.

Just-picked summer herbs such as marjoram, tarragon, sorrel, dill, oregano, sage, basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro and parsley -- minced for maximum flavor -- impart a savory and piquant tang to basting sauces for grilled breads. And, ground roasted szechuan peppercorns, saffron, chile powder, cumin, paprika, celery salt, mustard, turmeric, sansho (Japanese pepper), sambal oelek or any of the myriad dried chile peppers also add zest. For an unusual twist, stir in poppy seeds, black or toasted white sesame seeds, celery seeds or black caraway seeds to give extra crunch.

Prepare the basting sauce 2 to 3 hours, or even several days, in advance to allow flavors to blend and develop. Warm the sauce in a small pot on the grill before using.

Grill the bread after the rest of the meal has been barbecued and the coals are warm, not sizzling. Cut baguettes or Italian bread diagonally into 1/2-inch slices, bagels in half or in thin chips, pita bread into two full circles, and jalapenåo corn bread in 1/2 inch slices. Leave corn and flour tortillas whole. Break or cut the tortillas and pita rounds into serving size pieces.

Since fires vary in strength and each grill has its own hot spot, turn and move the bread to evenly toast, basting every 2 minutes or as needed. If desired, sprinkle the crisp hot bread with grated parmesan cheese during last 2 minutes of toasting.

In general, 1/2 cup of sauce bastes half of a long French baguette to feed four people. When devising your own recipes, start with a 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup oil. The bread is nicely browned by the butter, which does not have that stick-to-the-roof quality of an all-oil marinade. For this base use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each of dried herbs or seeds and 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh herbs. Add other seasonings to taste.

Here, in addition to the recipes that follow, are some combinations to try this summer when grilling breads.

Butter, garlic oil, lemon juice, marjoram, oregano, paprika, cayenne.

Butter, garlic oil, chile powder, cumin, hot pepper sauce.

Butter, garlic oil, lemon juice, cumin, soy sauce, minced green onion or chives, sambal oelek.

Butter, hazelnut oil, dijon mustard, minced garlic, parsley.

Butter, avocado oil, cilantro.

GARLIC OIL: AH, THERE'S THE RUB!

(Makes 2 cups)

12 to 14 large garlic cloves, peeled

2 cups olive oil

Smash garlic cloves lightly with the wide part of a french knife to permit more garlic flavor to penetrate the oil. Place the cloves in the bottom of a pint jar and pour oil over top. Let stand at room temperature for 3 days before using; shake occasionally.

Taste oil and remove garlic. For a stronger garlic flavor, let garlic stand in oil 1 or 2 more days. Reserve garlic, cover and refrigerate, and use as you would fresh garlic. Store garlic oil in a cool dark place, and refrigerate if not using within 3 weeks.

From "Barbecue" by Leslie Bloom (The American Cooking Guild, 1987, $2.95) ARGENTINE MARINADE (Makes about 1 cup, to serve 8)

This basting sauce is adapted from the traditional saffron marinade called chimichurri used at an Argentine asado, or barbecue, to baste poultry or shellfish.

1/2 teaspoon or 40 saffron threads

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup minced Spanish onion

2 large garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1 long French baguette

Powder saffron threads in a ceramic mortar with pestle, add lemon juice and steep 20 minutes to extract color and develop flavor. Transfer to a small pot or glass measuring cup.

Stir the vinegar, melted butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, thyme and pepper into the saffron mixture. Heat, uncovered, on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes to blend flavors, or microwave 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Make 2 hours or several days ahead, stirring in the parsley just before use to prevent it from turning yellow from the action of vinegar and lemon juice. Warm basting sauce before using.

Cut bread diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Cut in half crosswise if slices are too large. Brush bread lightly with saffron basting sauce just before grilling. Grill for a total of 4 to 6 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm.

Adapted from "Wild About Saffron" by Ellen Szita (Saffron Rose, 1987, $10.95) JAPANESE BASTING SAUCE (4 servings)

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup garlic oil

1 teaspoon sansho (Japanese pepper)*START NOTE why the asterick? END NOTE

1 teaspoon black caraway seeds (available in Middle Eastern stores)

1 teaspoon ao nori (available in Japanese markets)

1/2 long French baguette or other bread, sliced

Mix the melted butter, garlic oil, sansho, black caraway seeds and ao nori. Heat before using to baste grilled bread. Cut bread diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Cut in half crosswise if slices are too large. Brush bread lightly with basting sauce just before grilling. Grill for a total of 4 to 6 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm.

SESAME BASTING SAUCE (4 servings)

1/4 cup butter, melted

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground roasted szechuan peppercorns (available in Oriental markets)

1/2 long French baguette or other bread, sliced

Mix the butter, sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, toasted and black sesame seeds, and ground roasted szechuan peppercorns. Heat before using to baste grilled bread.

Cut bread diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Cut in half crosswise if slices are too large. Brush bread lightly with basting sauce just before grilling. Grill for a total of 4 to 6 mintues until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm.

Note: Roast peppercorns over low heat in an ungreased heavy skillet for 5 minutes or until dark brown and you can smell their peppery aroma. Shake pan occasionally to prevent burning.

WALNUT BASTING SAUCE (4 servings)

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup walnut oil

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 long French baguette or other bread, sliced

Mix the butter, walnut oil, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Heat before using to baste grilled bread.

Cut bread diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Cut in half crosswise if slices are too large. Brush bread lightly with basting sauce just before grilling. Grill for a total of 4 to 6 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm.

BLOODY MARY BASTING SAUCE (4 servings)

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup garlic oil

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 long French baguette or other bread, sliced

Mix the butter, oil, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, tomato paste, celery salt, and celery seed. Heat before using to baste grilled bread.

Cut bread diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Cut in half crosswise if slices are too large. Brush bread lightly with basting sauce just before grilling. Grill for a total of 4 to 6 mintues until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm.