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Food & Drink

Ask A Philadelphia Chef: Easy 4th Of July Recipes

June 18, 2014 8:00 AM

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Grilled Veggies

With 4th of July just around the corner, you’re probably already planning a barbecue to celebrate the holiday. While everyone loves the standard burgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob, these recipes from Philadelphia chefs are easy ways to get a little more creative this year. Impress your friends and family this 4th of July with these grill-friendly recipes that’ll kick your menu up a notch.

Chef Shane Solomon
Pizzeria Stella
420 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 320-8000
www.pizzeriastella.net

Chef Shane Solomon graduated from The New England Culinary Institute in 2000 and has been working with Stephen Starr exclusively ever since. Prior to Pizzeria Stella, he held positions at Philadelphia’s Angelina, Tangerine, Washington Square and Striped Bass. The versatile chef traveled the country for months before Pizzeria Stella opened, exploring the best pizza recipes. He decided on Neapolitan-style pizzas baked in a traditional wood-burning stove, and they’ve been a huge hit ever since. His recipes for prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and grilled shrimp and baby artichokes are a wonderful addition to your 4th of July gathering.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Basil and Parmesan Vinaigrette

Asparagus Ingredients:

  • 16 large asparagus spears, woody end removed 
  • 16 large basil leaves
  • 8 thin slices of prosciutto 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Blanch asparagus in water with salt until bright green and tender. Then plunge in cold water to stop the cooking process. Dry.
  2. Lay 2 slices of prosciutto on a flat surface. Form a large rectangle by overlapping the longer sides by 1/2 inch.
  3. Form a square pattern in the center of the prosciutto by laying 4 basil leaves on top.
  4. Place 4 of the cooked asparagus at one end of the prosciutto perpendicular to the “wrapper,” making sure the asparagus is all facing the same direction.
  5. Tightly wrap the prosciutto around the outside of the asparagus by rolling the asparagus.
  6. Brush the outside of the prosciutto with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  7. Repeat with the remaining asparagus ingredients 4 more times.
  8. Add the vinaigrette ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Grill the prepared asparagus until the prosciutto is crispy and inside is warm.
  11. Plate the finished asparagus and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Grilled Shrimp and Baby Artichoke Spiedini

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 medium rosemary sprigs, pick leaves to use
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 10-inch bamboo skewers
  • 12 large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 12 baby artichokes, tougher outside leaves and woodier portion of stem removed

Directions:

  1. Add olive oil, red pepper, rosemary and lemon juice to a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Reserve half of the mixture.
  2. Create 4 spiedini by alternately adding artichokes and shrimp to the bamboo skewers.
  3. Marinate spiedini in the olive oil mixture for at least an hour.
  4. Remove spiedini from marinade and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a hot grill until artichokes are crispy and shrimp are cooked through.
  5. Dress cooked spiedini with the reserved marinade.

Related: Top Gluten-Free Pizza In Philadelphia

Chef Steven Waxman
Trax Restaurant & Café
27 W. Butler Pike
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 591-9777
www.traxcafe.com

Chef Steven Waxman spent his early career traveling around the world sampling fine wines and enjoying the best regional cuisine. Those experiences combined with apprenticeships working in restaurants along the East Coast inspired him to open a restaurant where his guests could experience dishes as extraordinary as their favorite wines. His cozy BYOB is located in the restored Ambler train station and opened in 1998. When the weather is nice, you can dine in Trax’s award-winning garden. Chef Waxman’s jerk marinade below can be used on your choice of meat for your 4th of July barbecue. To add even more heat and flavor, add a tablespoon of your favorite BBQ sauce to the mixture.

Jerk Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 24 Habanera peppers, de-stemmed
  • 1/4 cup thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons allspice
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 lemons, peeled and juiced

Directions:

  1. Carefully combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. (Use gloves when handling the peppers as they are very hot.)
  2. Add salt to taste.
  3. Use mixture as a rub or marinade on chicken, beef, ribs or fish. Meat can be marinated for up to two days.

Related: Ask Philadelphia Experts: Top Barbecue Recipes

Chef Peter Scarola
R2L
50 S. 16th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 564-5337
www.r2lrestaurant.com

As the Pastry Chef at R2L, Peter Scarola uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to create flavorful treats with an element of surprise. Scarola has worked with Daniel Stern Restaurants for over five years, leading the pastry department at RAE in 2008 and developing and overseeing the pastry departments during the opening of MidAtlantic Tap Room in 2009 and R2L in 2010. In 2013, he was recognized through StarChefs as a “Rising Star Pastry Chef in Philadelphia.” His recipe for watermelon ice is a homemade version of the type of fun, artistic desserts his team makes from the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place.

Watermelon Ice

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups ripe, seedless watermelon cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup ripe raspberries, plus more for serving
  • 3 limes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 bunch fresh mint

Directions:

  1. Toss the watermelon with raspberries, sugar and salt. Add the zest of 1 lime and the juice of 3 limes and toss again.
  2. Let the watermelon mixture sit at room temperature for an hour.
  3. After an hour, toss again and use a blender to purée the mixture until smooth. Do this in small batches to avoid overfilling.
  4. Strain the puree through a fine mesh strainer into a shallow baking pan. Freeze for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. After the mixture starts to freeze, use a large fork to scrape the sides of the pan where the ice is starting to freeze. Mix these frozen bits into the rest of the mixture.
  6. Repeat this process several times, every 30 minutes, until the mixture forms large ice crystals.
  7. Cover the baking pan with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
  8. One to two hours before serving, freeze 6 glass coupes.
  9. Remove the watermelon ice from the freezer. Use a fork to shave the ice into the chilled dishes.
  10. Add a few fresh raspberries, several mint leaves and a bit of lime zest as garnish.
  11. Recipe makes 6 servings and will last up to 1 week in the freezer.

Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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