Before walking down the street to watch the 4th of July fireworks display, we love to throw a BBQ with a creative twist on some American-themed fare.
First, we upgrade the classic Chicago hot dog by adding an Italian spin using sweet Italian sausages smothered in melty provolone cheese and sauteed broccoli rabe.
Grilled Sausage with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone
2 large bunches of broccoli rabe, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 T EVOO
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
6 sweet Italian sausage links
12 slices provolone cheese
2 T EVOO
6 Portuguese rolls or small baguettes
Cook the broccoli rabe in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander and run under cold water. Set aside. Heat the EVOO on medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill the sausages until seared and no longer pink, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and slice each lengthwise in half.
Cut the rolls lengthwise in half and brush with EVOO. Place EVOO side down on the grill and lightly toast for 2-3 minutes. Flip the bread over and top each with two slices of provolone and return to grill until cheese is melted.
Add 1 cut sausage link to each cheesy roll and top with a generous spoonful of broccoli rabe. Serves 6.
To accompany the sandwiches and to celebrate summer corn, we assemble a bright-tasting side with edamame, mango and a tangy vinaigrette. The burst of colors is appropriate in anticipation of the evening's fireworks.
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
12 oz edamame
1/2 c diced red onion
4 ears of corn, shucked
1 mango cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 c EVOO
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper throughout
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 5 minutes and drain. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob.
Place the tomatoes, red pepper, edamame, corn, mango and red onion in a large salad bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, EVOO, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well and serves. Serves 6-8 sides.
While grill is still hot, can’t forget s’mores!