July 4th signifies an important day in American History – It’s known as Independence Day, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, PA and declaring independence from Great Britain.
I was recently asked if Independence Day is celebrated in Italy. The answer is NO. It IS an American Holiday.
That doesn’t mean that my family didn’t celebrate; we did. We ate hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad; but we also ate sausage and peppers, pasta salad, string bean salad, followed by Italian pastries, such as cannoli and drank espresso.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NY was especially fun because of the different nationalities living on my block. As children, we had sparklers; our parents set off fireworks on the street, and we ran through the water from the fire hydrants. It was a happy and simpler time.
If you’re planning on having a barbecue this year, I’d like to suggest something Italian to add to your menu.
Italian String Bean Salad
1lb. fresh string beans – be sure to remove the ends.
2 cloves finely chopped fresh garlic
1/2 finally chopped small onion
1small can of pitted black olives
1 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2-cup balsamic vinegar
Pinch of sugar
Rinse fresh string beans to remove any dirt.
Fill a 10 qt. pot halfway with water and place a metal steamer in bottom of pan.
Layer string beans on the steamer.
Turn heat to a medium setting.
Steam until slightly crisp, and bright green in color (7-10 minutes).
Remove steamed string beans from pot and plunge into very cold water (5 minutes).
In a large bowl, add finely chopped garlic, onion, oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar and whisk vigorously.
Add string beans and mix together.
Add olives and mix again.
Place string bean salad in the refrigerator and let it cool about 30 minutes, taking it out to mix again before placing it back in the refrigerator for a final 30 minutes.
Be sure to mx it again when you take it out of the refrigerator to serve.
* You can also substitute red wine or white wine vinegar for the balsamic.