Celebrating our country’s independence, the Fourth of July traditionally honors American pride. From fireworks to feasts, this upbeat day highlights American pastimes across the country. In Maryland, locals serve up crab cakes fresh from the Eastern shore, while Pacific Northwesterners grill salmon and peas, a meal native to the area. In the Midwest, you’ll find Wisconsin Cheeseheads broiling trout and Indiana Hoosiers grilling steak and sweet corn. From local meats to patriotic desserts, the Fourth is a time to honor local American cultures, but with growing appreciation for our melting pot make-up, many Fourth of July feasts are seeing some international flavors.
I know what you’re thinking — crab meat and salmon are expensive! And that is generally true, but after all, the Fourth of July only comes once a year. There are plenty of delicacies to dive into but you don’t have to go broke doing it. If you’re cooking on a budget, check-out online coupon sites like Valpak and look up your ingredients to see if there are any deals before heading out to the grocery store.
Though the Fourth is a day celebrating American patriotism, culinary twists seem to be infiltrating celebrations across the country. With new flavors and a mix of cultures, these new Independence Day recipes are being welcomed with open arms. But one thing remains constant: every Fourth of July feast needs a little red, white and blue.
If you are opting for some new flavors this year, don’t forget to incorporate one traditional item. For a delicious and patriotic dessert, go with the Glorious Red, White and Blue Cake. This dessert not only displays the colors of the Star-Spangled Banner, but it also incorporates some traditional American flavors like red velvet cake and strawberries. The cake layers white and red velvet cake. Covered in snow-white cream cheese frosting (another American favorite) and topped with strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, this flavorful dessert pays homage to the American flag and offers party guests the perfect taste of American tradition. If you aren’t a cake person, opt for strawberry and blueberry pies to keep the red, white and blue tradition alive.
Whether you will be adding a bit of cultural flare to your Fourth of July celebration or sticking with American traditions, celebrating America is what the day should be all about. We truly are a melting pot of cultures, so Independence Day is the perfect time for Americans to show what the U.S. means to them through creativity and cultural recipes.
How to Make Crab Cakes for Fourth of July
You don’t have to make a trip to the Chesapeake Bay to enjoy authentic Maryland crab cakes. Once you know how to make crab cakes yourself, you can enjoy the flavor of the region right in your kitchen.
1 pound jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat. Either fresh or pasteurized will work fine.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from soft white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Lemon wedges for serving
1. Drain the fluid from the can of crabmeat and pick through the meat for shells (jumbo lump will not have shells). Put the crab in a medium mixing bowl and set it aside for now.
2. In a smaller bowl, mix the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and salt with a whisk. Scrape the mixture over the crab and mix gently until well combined. Gently break up the lumps with your fingers but do not overmix.
3. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the parsley over the mixture, and mix them in thoroughly but gently; try not to turn the mixture into a mash – it should still be somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
4. Shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes about 1 inch thick. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan (8 should fit comfortably). Cook until dark golden brown on the underside, about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the other side is well browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the cakes.
How to Make Salmon & Peas for the Fourth of July
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
4 (4- to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
Freshly ground black pepper
To mix up the lemon brodetto, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan at a medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender – usually this takes about 7 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.
To make the pea puree, combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady drizzle. Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.
To cook the salmon, heat the olive oil in a large, skillet. Set the heat to high. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish as it sizzles. Sear the salmon until a golden crust forms, which should take about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare. The second side should only take 2 minutes or possibly more depending on the thickness of the fish.
To put the dish together, add the tablespoon of chopped mint to the lemon brodetto and divide between 4 shallow dishes. Place a large spoonful of pea puree into the center of each bowl. Place a salmon piece atop each mound of pea puree. Serve immediately.