Fourth of July

A Food Guide Worthy of Fireworks!

Independence Day is the perfect holiday to crank up your grill and celebrate the land of the free. Obviously you’re going to have your hotdogs, perfectly grilled burgers and pulled pork sandwiches at your holiday extravaganza. But with all of the amazing seafood and fresh produce that our second home state of Michigan has to offer, I decided to switch up my BBQ routine and add some fish to the smorgasbord of deliciousness. Below is this summer’s Fourth of July menu worthy of fireworks!


Fourth of July Menu


Dad’s Salumi

Fregula with Corn

Summer Caprese Salad

The Perfect Burger 

Walleye Sammies with Napa Slaw & Tartar Sauce

Chilled Zabaglione with Raspberries and Amaretti 




Serves 6


Kosher salt
½ pound (about 1 1/3 cups) fregula
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe here)
Coarsely ground black pepper


Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the fregula and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well.


Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over high heat until smoking hot. Add the olive oil and heat until very hot, then add the corn and cook, stirring once or twice, until the kernels are charred in spots, about 2 minutes (watch out for popping corn kernels). Season with Maldon salt and cook, stirring, until just tender, another minute or so. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.


Add the fregula and scallions to the corn, then add the vinaigrette and toss well. Season generously with Maldon salt and with pepper. Serve, or let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. (The fregula can be refrigerated overnight; let come to room temperature before serving.)



Serves 6


10 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 ½ pounds assorted ripe tomatoes (choose a combination of colors, types, and size), such as Brandywine, purple Cherokee, cherry, pear, peach, and/or Green Zebra)
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch basil (Genovese, lemon, Thai, or fino verde), leaves removed, or about 1 cup mixed fresh basil leaves
Maldon or other flaky sea salt


With a sharp knife, cut the mozzarella into ½-inch-thick slices. Transfer to a serving platter, reserving any milky liquid from the cheese in a small cup.


If using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut them half; reserve the juices. Core the remaining tomatoes and slice them, reserving the juices. Arrange the tomatoes on the cheese.


Whisk the vinegar, reserved tomato juices, any liquid from the mozzarella, and the olive oil together in a small bowl.


Tear the basil leaves over the salad. Pour the vinaigrette over it, sprinkle with salt, and serve.


Walleye Sammies

Serves 8


8 fillets of Walleye, about 4 oz each

Flour, for dredging

2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Vegetable oil, to fry

8 sesame seed burger buns, lightly toasted


Napa Slaw

1 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

2 Serrano chiles, sliced

1 lime, juice and zest

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup chives, finely chopped

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste


Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup crème fraiche

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons fresh horseradish, freshly grated

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped


Preheat an inch and a half of vegetable oil to 360°F.


Place flour in a shallow dish and season generously with salt and Old Bay seasoning and dust the fish in the seasoned flour.


Carefully submerge in the oil — being careful as the fillets can splatter as they cook. Fry until crispy and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.


Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Season immediately with salt.


Combine the slaw ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste.


Whisk together tartar sauce ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste.


Assemble sandwiches with fish, slaw, and tartar sauce on each. Serve immediately.


Chilled Zabaglione with Raspberries and Amaretti 

Serves 8 to 10


8 large egg yolks, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup dry Marsala or sherry

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

2 pints fresh raspberries

8 to 10 amaretti cookies


Put a mixing bowl in the fridge to chill it.


Fit a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. (Or alternatively, use a double boiler.)


Place the egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala into the heatproof bowl, and whisk together well. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is pale and thick, about tripled in volume and happily frothy. (This could take up to 10 minutes. Be careful not to let the water boil beneath the bowl; it should stay at a high simmer.)


Remove the bowl from its pan of simmering water, and place it on a cold surface or stand it in a pan of cold water. Whisk constantly until the mixture is cool, then set it aside.


In the chilled mixing bowl, whip the cream until it reaches firm peaks. Fold about a third of the whipped cream into the egg mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream. (The zabaglione can be made up to 4 hours in advance of serving and refrigerated. Remove it from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving to allow it to soften and come to a cool temperature, around 50F.)


Divide the raspberries among eight to ten old-style champagne coupes or large wineglasses. Spoon the zabaglione over the raspberries, and crumble an amaretti cookie over each serving. Serve immediately.

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