This Fourth of July, celebrate a melting pot of party foods
This Fourth of July, go beyond the basic burgers and barbecue and pledge allegiance to these easy crowd pleasers. From a Spanish salad to a French dessert, this spread showcases a cultural melting pot of cuisine while bringing out the best of summer.
Yields: 3 1⁄4 cups
2 cups lemon-flavored sparkling water, chilled
1⁄2 cup citrus-flavored vodka, chilled
1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup orange liqueur
Lemon slices, to garnish
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large pitcher. Serve in ice-filled glasses. Garnish each drink with a lemon slice, if desired.
Spanish Potato Salad with Tuna
12 ounces fingerling potatoes
10 ounces French green beans, trimmed
6 ounces campari tomatoes, cut into wedges
1⁄3 cup small shallots, quartered
15 ounces canned quality tuna packed in olive oil, drained and crumbled
2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3⁄4 teaspoon cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more to taste
1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 head butter lettuce
Salt and pepper
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for 10 minutes or until you are able to stick a fork through potatoes. Using a slotted spoon, remove potatoes from the pot and transfer to a plate. Don’t discard water.
Prepare a large bowl with ice water.
In the same cooking pot, with the water boiling, add green beans. Cook 4 minutes or so. Drain, and immediately place the green beans in the bowl with the ice water to stop cooking. When cooled, remove green beans from ice bath and pat dry.
Cut potatoes in half length-wise and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add green beans, tomatoes, shallots, tuna and garlic.
Season with salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and crushed red pepper. Combine olive oil and vinegar, then add to the salad. Give everything a gentle toss making sure all the ingredients are well-coated. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Assemble butter lettuce on a nice platter. Arrange the salad on top and enjoy.
Servings: 6-8 as an appetizer
5 sprigs cilantro, plus 1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
1¼ pounds large shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
2 tomatoes, cored, chopped into small pieces
6 limes, juiced
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup jícama, peeled and diced
½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
Bring 2 cups water, cilantro sprigs, 2 garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Meanwhile, add water and ice to a medium bowl and set aside. Add shrimp to saucepan, cover and remove from heat. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to bowl of ice and let cool.
Once cool, chop shrimp into ½-inch pieces. Transfer about 1⁄3 cup cut shrimp to blender. Refrigerate remaining shrimp.
Add lime juice, jalapeño, 2 tablespoons oil, 2½ teaspoons salt and remaining 2 garlic cloves to blender and process until mixture is smooth. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.
Add refrigerated shrimp, tomato, jícama, and onion to bowl with sauce and toss to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add chopped cilantro and avocado to ceviche and toss to combine. Portion into individual bowls.
Servings: 6-8 as an appetizer
1 12-ounce bottle seafood cocktail sauce
1 10-ounce can diced Ro-Tel tomatoes, original flavor, drained
1⁄2 cup white onion, finely chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
2 1⁄2 pounds shrimp, boiled, peeled and cut into large chunks
Fritos Scoops corn chips, for serving
Mix all ingredients, except avocados and corn chips, in a large bowl. Cover and chill overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, chop the avocados and gently mix them into the shrimp mixture. Serve with Fritos Scoops.
Hummus with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
Servings: 8-10 as an appetizer
4 large pitas, toasted, cut into wedges
2 cups prepared hummus, homemade or store-bought
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, chopped small, plus more to taste
1⁄2 English cucumber, washed, unpeeled, chopped small
1⁄4 medium red onion, chopped small
1⁄4 teaspoon sumac
1 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoons finely chopped mint, plus more for garnish
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spread hummus on a large plate with the back of a spoon, creating swirls and cavities. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil.
Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, lemon, about 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Stir in sumac and herbs.
Heap salad on hummus, arrange pita wedges all around. Finish with additional fresh herbs.
Yields about 3 dozen
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix, prepared as directed
1 package Lit’l Smokies
Shark Bites mold
Ketchup and mustard, if desired
Preheat oven to 425 F. Lightly spray mold with cooking spray. Place on a sheet pan.
Place individual Lit’l Smokies in designated position in each mold. Spoon cornbread batter into molds until filled half way. Bake for 20 minutes or until gold brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Invert and remove bites to plate. Repeat process with remaining cornbread batter and Lit’l Smokies.
Serve with ketchup and mustard, if desired.
Peach Tarte Tatin
1 single-crust pie dough, homemade or store-bought, chilled
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered (ripe, firm peaches preferred)
Roll dough into 9-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Transfer to a sheet of parchment and refrigerate until needed.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 F. Smear butter over bottom of 10-inch oven-safe skillet. Sprinkle ½ cup sugar over butter in an even layer. Sprinkle salt over sugar. Arrange peaches in circular pattern around edge of skillet, nestling fruit snugly. Tuck remaining peaches into center, squeezing in as much fruit as possible.
Place skillet over high heat and cook, without stirring fruit, until juice is released and turns deep amber, 8 to 12 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat. Carefully place prepared dough over fruit, making sure dough is centered and doesn’t touch edge of skillet. Brush dough lightly with water and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until crust is very well browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove skillet and let cool for 20 minutes.
Place inverted plate on top of crust and carefully invert tart onto plate. If peaches have shifted during unmolding, gently nudge them back into place with spoon.
Let tart cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.