Tag 4th of July

A Summer Celebration Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho with Shrimp Ceviche

Courtesy of Vicki Nunn - Public Domain

Courtesy of Vicki Nunn

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, one of my favorite holidays. Some of my favorite Independence Day memories include watching the glittering displays of fireworks against the night sky while lying in a giggling dog-pile with all the neighborhood kids, spending the day strategically eating as much as possible at our giant annual picnic, and of course, munching on crisp watermelon as the juice leaves sticky sweet trails down my arms.
Actually, watermelon is probably one of my all-time favorite components of the 4th of July — and summer in general. Watermelon selection is an event in itself. Our run to the grocery store demands a good ten minutes of searching for the biggest and sweetest smelling melon. Then, it’s back home to slice it into wedges that disappear as fast as they’re cut.

I love how versatile watermelon is, and hearing so much about watermelon flavored drinks lately makes me want to experiment myself. In particular, I hope to try this recipe for Louisa Shafia’s Watermelon, Mint, and Cider Vinegar Tonic because it sounds as crisp and delicious as the fruit itself. If you give it a go at your Fourth of July celebration, please let me know how it went!

Another intriguing watermelon recipe, I found in the Parties That Cook recipe archives. One of my summer favorite recipes is gazpacho, a cold Spanish soup that is typically tomato based. This recipe for Watermelon Gazpacho with Shrimp Ceviche definitely sparked my interest! I’m so excited to try it myself, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

We all have our favorite Independence Day memories and traditions. What are yours? Let us know in the comments!Shrimp Ceviche

1 large red bell pepper
1 ear corn
3 cups seedless watermelon
2 1/2 pounds ripe red heirloom tomatoes
1 pound English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 chipotle in adobo, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce
2 scallions, white and green parts only
1 garlic clove
3 Tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

Shrimp Ceviche:
1/2 lb. baby shrimp (70 count), cleaned and deveined
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves

Roast Peppers and Corn: Roast red bell peppers over an open flame until blackened. Put into a paper bag for 5 minutes then peel off charred skin and remove seeds and stem. Roast corn over a flame, turning frequently, until the corn is charred.

Chop and Puree: Roughly chop watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, roasted red peppers and jalapeno. Cut corn off cob. Combine. Add chipotle and adobo, scallions, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil and salt. In a food processor or blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Transfer to a pitcher.

Shrimp: Combine shrimp, lime juice, salt and cilantro and allow to sit for 3 hours. Drain off juice.

Additional Tips
To Serve: In center of individual serving bowls place small mound of shrimp ceviche. At the table, pour watermelon gazpacho into the bowls around the shrimp.

Serves 10

Happy Fourth of July!

Parties That Cook’s All-American Grill Recipe: Balsamic-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

This 4th of July, celebrate America with your best friend, and ours, the grill. We’ve already given you about 20 unconventional grilling ideas, so today we’ll go the more traditional route — for America. What’s more American than Grilled Skirt Steak? Nothing. Except maybe that Eagle above. In any case, this recipe for mouthwatering balsamic-marinated grilled skirt steak will be the star of any grill-tastic barbecue!

Balsamic-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak with Herbed Bread Crumbs Recipe
This recipe can also be found in our Main Dish Recipe Section

Skirt Steak Marinade:
2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (good quality works best)
1 sprig rosemary (about 10 inches), cut into pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon Canola oil (for grilling meat)

Bread Crumbs:
1 pound loaf focaccia, torn into small pieces
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 large shallots, peeled and sliced
3 Tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 Tablespoons capers, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 bunch fresh chives, chopped
1/2 bunch basil, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Trim Steak: If not already done for you, trim any excess fat and silver skin from the steak. Cut each long piece of skirt into about 6oz pieces.

Make Marinade: Combine the balsamic vinegar, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper in medium bowl.  Then add olive oil. Working in 2 batches with an instant marinator, place the steaks into the marinator and pour the marinade over the steaks and turn to coat. (Alternatively, you can cover and refrigerate overnight.) Bring to room temperature before grilling.

Grill the Meat: Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat very dry with paper towels. Heat a ridged grill pan over high heat until very hot OR prep your outdoor grill. Brush the grill with a bit of canola oil. For medium rare to medium doneness, sear the steaks on each of their 4 sides until golden brown in color, about 2-3 minutes per side. Helpful Tip: For rare meat, cook steak for less time, to an internal temperature of 125-130ºF; for medium rare, 135ºF. For more well-done meat, transfer seared steaks to a sheet pan and finish in oven for approximately 5 more minutes or until you reach the desired doneness. Let steaks rest for 15-20 minutes before serving, as they will continue to cook a bit as they rest. Resting also prevents “drying” out.

Make Bread Crumbs: Gently coat bread pieces with the olive oil.  Lay the crumbs out onto a sheet pan and bake until the crumbs are the color of strong tea, at 300ºF for about 30 minutes. (Note: Don’t rush this step. If the bread is too pale, or not dry enough, the pieces will get soggy when you pour the dressing on them). Cool completely. Place the toasted bread into the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until the bread is cut into about 1/4 inch pieces.

Make Vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, mix the shallots with the vinegar and the lemon juice. Let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer shallot mixture to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the lemon zest, capers, garlic, chives, basil, parsley, olive oil and salt. Pulse until dressing is smooth. Divide the vinaigrette, reserving one half for garnish. Set aside.

Serve: Place a steak (sliced against the grain or served whole) on a serving plate. Right before ready to serve, slowly add the dressing to the cooled bread crumbs a little at a time (you may not need all of the dressing.) Place a heaping spoonful of the breadcrumbs on the steak and garnish with reserved vinaigrette. Serve.

Serves 8