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Independence Day Feast

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The Fourth of July … a proud day for freedom. Truth, liberty, justice, and the American Way are not just words, ‘tis the spirit, birthright, honor, and belief of every citizen of these United States. Well, enough of the soapbox oratory, let’s get down to some serious eatin’, people!

Citrus Scampi: Take two pounds of raw jumbo shrimp (now there’s an oxymoron for ya’), peel, butterfly, and devain ‘em, season lightly with Creole seasoning, then saute’ in large skillet with four ounces melted butter and one-tablespoon fresh minced garlic. Over a medium-high flame, it should take only five minutes or so to cook ‘em. When near done, add in one tablespoon of fresh minced parsley, the juice of one freshly squeezed lime and of two big Florida oranges. Toss thoroughly and serve ‘em over a bed of fresh spinach leaves, or on a great rice pilaf. It’s a tangy, crisp refreshing twist to a classic scampi.

Sicilian Strip: Charbroil two seasoned 16-ounce N.Y. Strip beefsteaks till medium-rare, then cross-cut into one ounce strip medallions (roughly 32 pieces). Meanwhile, in a large skillet heated over medium flame, melt two ounces of butter, then saute’ one cup of fresh diced green onions and one tablespoon fresh minced garlic for a couple of minutes. Now add four ounces beef broth and four ounces burgundy wine. Bring it up to a low roll boil, then thicken lightly with a little slurry (cornstarch water). Toss in N.Y. Strip medallions, coating completely. Place strip medallions in uniform layer design on platter, then lace with remaining Sicilian Strip sauce.

Brandy Peaches al’ Pollo: Grill or charbroil six seasoned 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts till cooked three quarters done. Slice into 2-ounce strips and place aside for the time being. Meanwhile, pour a large 24-ounce can of clinged peaches, with juice, into a large saute’ skillet, bringing it to a low roll boil. At this point, fold in a teaspoon of cinnamon, a heaping tablespoon of dark brown sugar, and a half of cup Christian Bros. Brandy, heating for one minute longer. Thicken lightly with slurry (cornstarch water), then fold in chicken strips, cooking for two minutes longer. When serving, layer chicken strips on platter, topping with brandy peaches.

Oysters Parmesan: This is a hybrid of two distinct culinary styles; Texan and Sicilian. Take two dozen, or more, silver dollar size raw oysters, still soaking in their own natural liquor, and roll each one in seasoned flour, coating completely. Grill breaded oysters in butter till golden brown on each side, either on a griddle or in a large skillet, then lace ‘em liberally with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix up a batch of Pioneer Peppered Cream Gravy mix, following the instructions on the box. When cream gravy comes to fruition, add in four ounces white wine, bringing it back up to temperature, then whisk in four ounces of grated parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat for now. Using Schooner dishes for guests, place six grilled oysters in each, coating oysters liberally with parmesan peppered cream sauce. Top Oysters Parmesan with grated mozzarella cheese, nice and thick. Blast ‘em in 450 degree pre-heated oven for a few minutes, till the mozzarella is melted and bubbling. Enjoy this unique creation … it’s certain to be a crowd pleaser!

Pork Tenderloin Fritters:
Now it wouldn’t be a celebration without pork—the grand-daddy king of eats. Take a three pound pork tenderloin, lean, clean and mean, and slice into three ounce round medallions. Dredge in seasoned flour, dip in egg wash solution (half raw eggs and half milk blended) coating ‘em real damn good, then roll in seasoned fine bread crumbs, pressing on firm and solid, makin’ sure the breading sticks. Now in a large cast iron, one third filled with vegetable oil (pre-heated 350 degrees), fry the breaded pork medallions on each side till a dark, rich golden brown appearance is achieved. Damn it … now that’s what I like! Where’s the buttermilk biscuits, garlic mashed potatoes, peppered cream gravy, and ketchup, Sara!

Jumbo Lump Crab Marco: Get two pounds of jumbo lump crabmeat (pickin’ through it real good, makin’ sure there ain’t no shell fragments to choke on!) and toss into large mixing bowl. Season lightly with Creole seasoning, then fold together gently with a half cup of sliced pimento green olives, a half cup of sliced ripe black olives, and a cup of Remoulade Sauce (You’ll find my recipe for it in, A Chef’s Life: Cooking 101). Cover airtight and chilled for a couple of hours. I like mine served on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, garnished with hard-boiled egg quarters and cherry tomatoes. Well folks, that’s all I got for ya’! Have a grand ol’ time this Independence Day!


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