Independence Day dishes for a taste of the States | Food

RThe frozen salad is one of the things I do most often during the summer months. I find the lukewarm mixture completely satisfying, all the flavors really burst at this temperature. It is a dish that is always available because there is always something in the fridge hiding in it – cheese, ham – but it is a dish that really has the advantage of having the best ingredients in it. quality. The other dishes here have a slight American accent. Around the same time last year, a friend from the United States made the most delicious July 4th lunch of baked tortillas with green peppers. He stood proudly alongside pulled pork, though it might have been the main event if a vegetarian had been present. A week later, very inspired, I cooked this polenta dish.

Insalata di riso

I know it’s obvious, but this salad really tastes as good as the ingredients, and the brown rice makes it earthy and delicious. Enough for 4, with leftovers

Garlic 1½ cloves
Red wine vinegar 4 tbsp
olive oil 6 tbsp, plus a little more for frying
Red bell pepper 1, large
zucchini 250g, small
green beans 150g
brown rice for risotto 200g
chanterelles 250g, or any other mushroom, or an eggplant
parsley 1 small bouquet
sardines 1 small can of oil
anchovy fillets 6
basil 1 small bouquet
capers 2 heaped teaspoons
Pickles 1 tbsp
small new red onion ½, finely diced

Add 1 garlic clove to a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Use a pestle and mortar or the back of a knife to crush the remaining half of the garlic with a pinch of salt and add it to a large bowl with the vinegar and olive oil.

In a grill pan, or over open heat, charcoal and cook the peppers. Set it aside in a paper bag until it cools enough to peel off its blackened skin, then remove the seeds and cut the flesh into squares. Resist the urge to rinse it off under the tap. It is the first vegetable to add to your salad bowl.

Dice the zucchini and garnish and cut the beans. Boil the beans in salted water for 2 minutes before adding the zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove with a skimmer into the bowl. Add water if needed and cook the rice for the time indicated on the package (mine takes about 20 minutes).

During this time, clean the mushrooms well, wash them if necessary, and brown them over medium heat in a little oil with a pinch of salt and a sprig of parsley. Turn them during cooking for about 7 to 10 minutes, until reduced in size and cooked through. Add them, while still hot, to the salad bowl. Add the fish from the cans by tearing the anchovies into pieces, then add the herb leaves, capers, chopped pickles and onion. When the rice is cooked, drain it and rinse it quickly under the tap, then mix it cleverly in your salad bowl decorated with vegetables. It can be eaten right away, or it will keep until you are ready.

BBQ pork salad

“If it rains, I would do this in an indoor pot”: barbecued pork salad. Photography: Romas Foord / The Observer

Here, the cucumber remains firm after salting and cooking. If it rains, I would do it in an indoor pot. For 4 people

fennel seeds 1 teaspoon
peppers a few
Juniper berries 4
Bay leaf 1, Fresh
Rosemary 1 strand
cucumber 1, or more small
sugar 1 tbsp
rib eye steaks 2 (ask your butcher for this cut)

lemon 1
extra virgin olive oil
radishes 1 bouquet
fresh horseradish 3cm
mint 1 small bouquet

Well in advance, even the day before, crush the fennel seeds, peppercorns and juniper together in a mortar and pestle. Add the bay leaf, without its big rib, and the rosemary leaves with a generous pinch of salt and continue to grind together. Use it, with a little extra salt if needed, to season the pork on all sides. Reserve in the refrigerator.

Also, at least an hour before cooking, peel the strips from the outside of the cucumber. Cut the flesh in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Season on both sides with a little salt and sugar. Leave it aside in the refrigerator as well.

When you are ready to cook, heat the barbecue or a grill pan. Cook the pork for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat, turning frequently. Set aside in a bowl to rest, soaked in the juice of half the lemon. Wash the cucumber under the tap and dry it on paper towels. Rub in a drizzle of oil and place on the grill. Cook 5 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until lightly colored. Slice the radishes, finely grate the horseradish and pluck the mint leaves. Then cut the pork into 2 cm pieces and the cucumber in the same way. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the remaining juice, then return the sliced ​​meat with the cucumber, radishes and mint leaves. Mix, adjust the seasoning if necessary. Place half the salad on a large serving platter and sprinkle with half the horseradish, then top with the remaining salad and horseradish.

Polenta and peppers

“It could have been the main event”: polenta and peppers. Photography: Romas Foord / The Observer

Avoid the quick-cooking polenta, which doesn’t taste as good. For 4 people

coarse polenta 120g
Red onion 1
Garlic 2 cloves
extra virgin olive oil
long green peppers 450g
Oregano dried, ½ teaspoon
tomatoes 4, plum or similar
basil leaves small group
fresh mozzarella 250g

Boil 750 ml of salted water, lower the heat and add the polenta in a stream, stirring as you go to avoid lumps. Cover and cook over low heat for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished cooking, line a terracotta plate with a small amount of oil and pour the polenta over it, smoothing the spoon with a spoon. Let cool.

Slice the onion and chop the garlic. Sweat the two together over medium-low heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a pinch of salt until they are completely tender. While cooking, wash the peppers and remove the stems. Sauté in 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet with another pinch of salt. Once they’ve started cooking, a lid can be helpful. When you are satisfied that they are soft enough, sprinkle them with oregano and turn off the heat.

Wash the tomatoes, cut them and sprinkle them with salt. Heat the oven to 200 ° C / thermostat 6. Line an ovenproof dish with a little olive oil. Cut the polenta into strips and arrange in the dish. Sprinkle with a little peppers, onions and tomato slices, basil leaves and half of the mozzarella torn into pieces. Then add the rest of the polenta and everything else. Make sure you have a few spots of cheese and basil leaves for the top. Sprinkle with pepper and a little more oil before baking for 35 minutes until top is golden. Serve hot.

Apricot cream cake

'Best on the day of preparation, but also good cold from the fridge for breakfast': apricot cream cake.
‘Best on the day of preparation, but also good cold from the fridge for breakfast’: apricot cream cake. Photography: Romas Foord / The Observer

It’s a style of pudding cake. Filled with apricots, it tastes best the day it is prepared, but it’s also good cold from the fridge for breakfast. For 8 people

apricots 450g
golden powdered sugar 180 g, plus extra to sprinkle on top
sea ​​salt ½ teaspoon
flour 100g
baking powder 1 teaspoon
almond powder 80g
Butter 80g
eggs 3
milk 120 ml, more 1 tbsp
sour cream 200g
potato or corn flour 7g

Heat the oven to 180 ° C / thermostat 4. Line a 20cm cake mold with baking paper.

Cut and pit the apricots. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle with a little sugar and a pinch of sea salt.

Mix the flour, baking powder and almond flour together. Cream the butter with 80g of sugar. Add the flour mixture then 1 egg and 120 ml of milk. Spatula in a mold and bake for 10 minutes.

While cooking, whip the other 2 eggs with the crème fraîche and the rest of the sugar. Separately mix the potato or corn flour in 1 tablespoon of milk before adding this paste to the egg mixture. After 10 minutes, when the cake is partially cooked and a little firm around the edges, remove from the oven and cover with the apricot halves, quickly filling from the edge to the inside. Pour in the egg-cream mixture and return to the oven.

Bake another 40 minutes – it should be slightly shaky in the center. Let the cake cool completely and run a bit before removing it from the pan and paper, then serving.

Joe Trivelli is the chef at River Café

Styling by Henrietta Clancy

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