Though the official days of summer are almost over, the days of grilling are not. Autumn and Indian summer are peak times for my outdoor barbecuing. But it is not visions of burgers, hot dogs and smoky ribs drenched in tangy sweet barbecue sauce that I have in mind this time of year. Instead, I look forward to spiedini and other Italian-style grilled foods.

Spiedini means little skewered things, and the typical spiedini are thin slices of beef, pork, veal or fish stuffed with fillings such as herbs, cheese, prosciutto or bread crumbs. The rolled-up bundles are threaded on skewers and grilled quickly. When I was growing up, my mother would make several varieties of spiedini by the dozen, laying the slices out on a counter, then systematically adding the fillings. Finally, she would roll them into neat bundles and spear them on long metal skewers.

The next step requires care; if the rolls are not placed carefully on the grill, the bundles could flop open and spill their contents into the fire. But I learned a great tip for preventing this from my friend Anna Tasca Lanza, a cookbook author who lives in Sicily. She uses two skewers at a time set parallel to each other about an inch apart like the tines of a fork. The rolls stay neatly closed and secure and the two skewers make it easy to turn the food over. The double-skewer method works well with both metal and wooden skewers.

When I am in Italy, I am always delighted to find a restaurant that has a large open fireplace where roasts, chops and game birds are cooked to a golden brown. Quails cooked this way are my favorite since they turn out juicy and flavorful. To keep the little birds moist and to add flavor, I marinate them first in red wine and herbs, then arrange them on skewers with chunks of tasty pork sausage.

Sweet-tart balsamic vinegar and a little bit of honey add a beautiful brown glaze and delicious flavor to lean pork tenderloins. After marinating, I tie some fresh rosemary branches and sage leaves around the meat. Because the tenderloins are so lean, be careful not to overcook them or the meat will become dry and tough instead of tender and moist. To judge the cooking time, press the meat in the thickest part with your fingertip. The meat should spring back slightly. Or take its temperature, always in the thickest part, with an instant-reading thermometer. It should register 145 to 150 degrees. Let the meat rest on a board for 10 or 15 minutes before slicing it. The meat should be slightly pink in the center.

To go with my Italian-style barbecue, I like to serve grilled vegetables or a variety of salads that can be made ahead of time without wilting. Potato, green bean and rice salads hold up well, as do marinated beets or mushrooms, in their prime this time of year. So you see, grilling season has just begun.

Beef Spiedini With Mozzarella

(6 servings) 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 large clove garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound top round steak, cut into 6 cutlets and pounded thin

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into thin sticks

Metal skewers

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Spread half of the seasoned crumbs evenly on a piece of wax paper.

Brush 1 side of each cutlet with some of the oil. Transfer 1 beef cutlet, oiled-side down, to the wax paper and press gently so that the crumbs adhere. Place 1 piece of cheese and 1 teaspoon of the reserved crumb mixture along the short edge of the cutlet. If necessary, trim each piece of cheese so it does not protrude beyond the cutlet. Roll the cutlet tightly, beginning at the cheese end, to form a neat roll. Thread the roll onto a metal skewer. Repeat with the remaining cutlets. (They can be covered and refrigerated for up to several hours before cooking.)

Preheat the grill or broiler to medium.

Grill or broil, turning as necessary, until the meat is brown on the outside but still slightly pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side.

Per serving: 229 calories, 21 gm protein, 4 gm carbohydrates, 14 gm fat, 59 mg cholesterol, 6 gm saturated fat, 319 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

Veal Spiedini With Prosciutto

(6 servings)

1 pound veal cutlets, pounded thin (each cutlet should measure about 3 by 4 inches)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 thin slices prosciutto

About 24 fresh sage leaves

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 metal skewers

Place the cutlets on a flat surface and sprinkle lightly with pepper to taste. Place 1 slice of prosciutto on each cutlet and trim the prosciutto to fit. Roll the cutlet tightly, beginning at the narrow end, to form a neat roll. Thread the roll onto a metal skewer. Repeat with the remaining cutlets. As you thread the rolls onto the skewer, place a sage leaf between each and use 3 rolls to a skewer. (The meat rolls can be covered and refrigerated for up to several hours before cooking.)

Preheat the grill or broiler to medium.

Brush the rolls with some of the oil. Grill or broil, turning as necessary, until the meat is lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 304 calories, 51 gm protein, trace carbohydrates, 9 gm fat, 191 mg cholesterol, 3 gm saturated fat, 539 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber

Grilled Quails With Sausages

(6 servings)

This recipe is from Michele Scicolone's book "A Fresh Taste of Italy" (Broadway Books, 1997).

6 quails, fresh or thawed if frozen 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup dry white wine

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 mild pork sausages, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 12 pieces)

12 fresh sage or bay leaves*

Metal skewers

With kitchen shears or a heavy knife, cut the quails in half along the backbone and the breastbone. Rinse the quails and pat dry.

In a shallow bowl, combine the oil, wine, garlic, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Add the quail halves, turning to coat them well with the marinade. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for several hours.

Preheat the grill on medium.

Remove the quails from the marinade and pat them dry. Thread the quails and sausage pieces on skewers, alternating the pieces with sage or bay leaves. Grill the birds, basting them occasionally with the marinade, until the quails are browned on all sides and the sausages are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the remaining marinade. Serve the quails immediately.

* Note: Fresh bay leaves are available in the produce section of Fresh Fields stores.

Per serving: 277 calories, 23 gm protein, trace carbohydrates, 20 gm fat, 88 mg cholesterol, 5 gm saturated fat, 200 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

Pork Tenderloin Balsamico

(6 servings)

Lean pork tenderloins are usually sold 2 to a package. They are great on the grill. The honey in the marinade helps the meat brown nicely.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 pork tenderloins (about 3/4 pound each)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

12 fresh sage leaves

4 rosemary sprigs

Kitchen twine

In a nonreactive pan just large enough to hold the pork, stir together the balsamic vinegar and honey. Add the pork and turn to coat. Sprinkle generously with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or as long as overnight, turning the pork occasionally.

About 30 minutes prior to cooking, remove the pork from the refrigerator. Position the grill rack about 5 inches from the heat source and preheat the grill on medium-high.

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and transfer to a platter; discard the marinade. Place the sage leaves on top of the tenderloins and place 2 rosemary sprigs at the sides. Tie the herbs to the pork with kitchen twine.

Grill the pork, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. The meat should spring back when pressed at the thickest part and the internal temperature should read between 150 to 155 degrees (use an instant-reading thermometer). Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the twine and cut the meat into thick slices.

Per serving: 147 calories, 27 gm protein, 1 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm fat, 67 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 57 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

Bluefish With Lemon, Garlic and Mint

(4 servings)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 1/2 pounds bluefish fillets

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the garlic, oil, lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the mint. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for 1 hour.

Line the grill rack with foil. Preheat the grill on medium.

Place the fish on the rack, skin-side down. Cover the grill and cook, without turning, basting the fillets once with the marinade, until the fish is lightly browned and barely cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Per serving: 243 calories, 34 gm protein, 1 gm carbohydrates, 11 gm fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 219 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

Michele Scicolone is the co-author with Charles Scicolone of "Pizza Any Way You Slice It" (Broadway Books, 1998).