Still trying to decide what to make for the Fourth of July? Sick of your uncle making dried-out hockey pucks on buns and grandma making seventeen different kinds of salad, none of which involve vegetables and all of which involve mayonnaise? It’s time to take control of the menu, and it doesn’t even matter that we’re so close to the big day.
Thankfully Ina’s a procrastinator along with the rest of us, because she just now came out with her menu for an updated Fourth of July. With the Barefoot Contessa herself guiding us, there’s no reason that 24 hours isn’t enough to make a celebratory spread that will surprise and delight guests with your culinary fireworks.
“I like traditions as much as anyone,” Ina explains in her Instagram post about the spread. But she also says she likes to shake things up from the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. The “easy, summery menu,” that can mostly be made in advance, includes pops of red, white, and blue, of course, but also big flavors and fun dishes, starting with a watermelon mojito.
None of the savory dishes take too many ingredients or too much time, so you should be able to shop, prep, and be ready for the party in no time. The meaty grill gets replaced with jumbo shrimp skewers, flavored with herbs and mustard and topped with a mango salsa. Alongside that comes panzanella — bread salad — full of color from cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers, plus capers for extra pop. You’ll find more mustard in the vinaigrette, which really ties the meal together.
But some dishes can’t be abandoned, so when it comes to dessert, Ina sticks with the classics, with her stunningly decorated blueberry and strawberry decorated flag cake (which, it should noted, does not look as easy-breezy as the rest of the menu). But apparently it had to stay on the menu, “just to have a little a tradition,” she says.
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