Let familiar flavors in unexpected guises star at your holiday gathering this 4th.
Just as we do in the states, Italians mark festa della repubblica with parades and civic displays, but in Italy it tends to be a more sober affair. No fireworks, no backyard cookouts, no roasting marshmallows over the coals. Talk about a missed opportunity! If you ask me, America could teach Italy a thing or two!
This year Jade and I will be spending the 4th at home with friends and family. We’re looking forward to spending part of the day with a thermos of lemonade in hand and a good view of the local parade. It’s a charmingly homemade affair featuring old-timers driving antique cars, local firefighters and merchants on jerry- rigged floats, and lots of bands, marching and otherwise. This year, they’re even letting Jade and I participate by riding in one of the cars– a first for both of us!
After the parade comes the feast, and we’re planning an all-American cookout – with an Italian twist, naturally. I wanted to come up with a fun alternative to the red, white, and blue sheet cake that has become a holiday mainstay, and a flag pizza is my Italian-American answer. (It even has the colors of the Italian flag!). Cut into little squares it makes a perfect appetizer and offers options for both the meat-lovers and vegetarians in your crowd.
Continuing the theme, I’ve taken the traditional Caprese salad and brightened it up with the addition of watermelon. Even if the watermelon isn’t completely at its ripest and juiciest, this refreshing salad is bursting with flavor. And the flavors of gazpacho in my make-ahead sandwiches are a delicious complement to a fresh veggie salad and grilled corn on the cob.
Whether you’re hosting or just want kudos as the best guest ever, work one of these into your holiday rotation and you’ll make it a 4th to remember. And don’t forget the sparklers!