Recipes: Stars and shrimps on the Fourth of July: Burgers are the party staples, but there is an alternative. Emily Green asks the new wave of American chefs for some lighter, fresher suggestions

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The stereotype dictates that Americans eat hamburgers, barbecued ribs, potato salad and pecan pie every 4 July. They then flock to a beach to be terrorised by a great white shark.

Well, somebody should warn the shark. It is now likely to find its lunch raised on Mediterranean, Ashkenazi or Oriental-style food. The change owes much to America's endless waves of immigrants, and to a new generation of cooks, led by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. She and her many acolytes have, for more than two decades, pressed for organic growing, seasonality and a light, new style.

Deborah Madison is just such a new-wave cook. She became chef at Greens vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco, and wrote The Greens Cookbook and The Savoury Way. They were record-breakers for vegetarian cookbooks, between them selling 8,000 copies in Britain.

Strange, then, to find her last week in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in Cafe Escalera, a restaurant that serves meat. Odder yet, she was preparing gooseberry fool in that scorching state. As for joining a kitchen with a meat station, her response was refreshingly democratic: 'I'm part of a restaurant and we do everything.' Her ideal summer dish is a salad of roasted and pickled vegetables.

Deborah Madison's Salad of

ROASTED AND PICKLED VEGETABLES Serves 4 Ingredients: 8 small red beetroots 1/2 lb fresh green beans 1 red, yellow or orange pepper a handful of pickled red onion rings 8 new potatoes 2 handfuls of sturdy, flavourful lettuce chive flowers for garnish (optional)

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas 5. Trim the beets, leaving an inch of the tops and tails, rinse them well, and put them in a pan with just enough water to cover the bottom. Cover with foil and bake until tender, but still firm, about 30 minutes. When they are cool, slip off the skins and cut them into quarters or sixths.

Steam or blanch the beans in salted water until just tender, then rinse in cold water. Halve, core and seed the peppers. Brush with olive oil and roast them in a medium-hot oven until the skins are wrinkled and lightly browned. Cool slightly, slip off skin and reserve in covered dish. Steam or roast the potatoes until tender and slice. Wash and dry the lettuce. Now make the vinaigrette.

Ingredients: 1tbs white wine vinegar 1tsp balsamic vinegar salt to taste 1 shallot, minced 1tbs lightly chopped basil leaves 1tbs finely chopped parsley 2 fl oz/50g extra virgin olive oil 1tbs capers, rinsed

Preparation: Combine the vinegars, salt, shallot and herbs in a medium-sized bowl. Gently whisk in the oil and stir in the capers. Adjust seasoning. Lightly pass the salad leaves in the dressing, shake off excess and arrange them around a shallow bowl or platter. Do the same with the beetroots, beans, onions and potatoes, arranging them loosely. Take care to leave the beetroots where you first place them, or risk staining the whole salad. Garnish with hot chive blossoms.

NEW YORKERS know it simply as whitefish. Carla Phillips, American-born co-proprietor of the Moorings Restaurant in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, discovered it in the Manhattan deli of Barney Greengrass, the self-styled 'sturgeon king' of the Upper West Side. It is unobtainable here, but smoked grey mullet or whiting are fine substitutes - smoked haddock or cod would also work. Mackerel or herring, oily and rich, are inappropriate. Here is Mrs Phillips's adaptation.

BARNEY GREENGRASS'S SMOKED FISH PATE Serves 6 Ingredients: 1lb/450g smoked fish 1-2 stalks celery, roughly chopped (if bitter, use less or omit) 3-4 shallots 1 large green pepper, seeded and cored 3tbs fresh parsley 3tbs lemony mayonnaise (do not use olive oil) freshly ground black pepper pinch of cayenne, or dash of Tabasco or Oriental chilli sauce

Preparation: Cook the fish by poaching it in a little water, steaming or microwaving. Cool, drain. Blend shallots, celery, green pepper and parsley in a food processor until you have a green mush. Add the fish, removing any vagrant bones. Puree. Add the mayonnaise, blending well. Last of all, add the black pepper and cayenne, Tabasco or chilli sauce. Chill and serve with hot toast.

THE CHINESE-American cookery writer Ken Hom needs little introduction. Any Briton who owns a wok probably also owns at least one of his books. I asked him what trends he saw at the vanguard of American cookery. 'What is new is old these days,' he replied. 'Everybody is going back to basics. You even have fancy meatloaf. The emphasis is on the lightening of traditional dishes.'

At first glance, a traditional dish from San Francisco might well seem Chinese. Look more closely at this original recipe from Mr Hom, and the olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and tarragon give it away as a uniquely Californian hybrid.

RICE PAPER SHRIMP ROLLS Makes 16 Ingredients: 1/2 lb/225g medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined 1tbs olive oil 2tbs fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried 2tbs spring onion, chopped 2tbs sun-dried tomatoes, chopped good pinch freshly ground black pepper 16 rice paper rounds, 6in in diameter 1 1/2 pints/840ml peanut oil

Preparation: Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, tarragon, spring onion, tomatoes and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight. Fill a medium-sized bowl with warm water. Dip a rice paper round in it until slightly softened and translucent (about 5-10 seconds). Drain briefly on a kitchen towel. Place one shrimp and some marinade along the lower end of the paper, about an inch from the edge. Fold the paper snugly over the shrimp and fold in both sides. Roll up into a cylinder about three inches long. Repeat until all rolls are filled. (These can be prepared four hours before cooking, if covered and refrigerated before cooking, or frozen for as long as a month.) Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large heavy saucepan. Fry the rolls in batches of three or four for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

THE CHEF of Pacific Cafe in Kapaa, Kauai in the Hawaii islands is neither Polynesian nor Anglo-American. He is the French-born Jean-Marie Josselin. As a method of cooking, 'huli-huli' has more relevance to the British kitchen than the name might suggest. It simply means cooking on a spit. This spicy chicken, from his book A Taste of Hawaii, can just as easily be cooked on an oven rack, with about half a pint of water in a roasting pan below. 'The chicken juices, the marinade and the water will mix to make a wonderful glaze to baste the chicken with,' he writes.

PACIFIC CAFE CHICKEN WITH A LIME-HONEY GLAZE Serves 4 Ingredients: 4lb/1kg 800g free range, organic chicken (or 4 baby chickens) 4 sprigs fresh thyme 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced 8oz/225ml honey 8oz/225ml dark soy sauce 8oz/225ml fresh lime juice 3tsp light brown sugar

Preparation: Prepare the grill, or preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas 5. Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the thyme and garlic under the skin on the breast. Combine the honey, soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Place the chicken on the spit or rack and brush with glaze every few minutes until the glaze starts to stick, or in oven about every 10 minutes, turning the bird so it cooks evenly. If skin begins to overcook, cover loosely with foil. Continue to roast until the chicken is done, about 1 1/2 hours on the spit; in oven raise temperature to 400F/200C/Gas 6 for the last 15 minutes for a good finish. Rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve pan juices as sauce.

ROGER PIZEY works alongside Marco-Pierre White at the Michelin two-star Harvey's in Wandsworth, south London. Seven months ago he made a pilgrimage to Los Angeles to see Nancy Silverton, pastry chef at Campanile, known by Angelenos as the city's 'hottest' restaurant. 'They do simple tarts - nothing fussy - with an emphasis on flavour,' he says. 'I loved the tangerine ice- cream. It was absolutely unreal.'

NANCY SILVERTON'S TANGERINE ICE-CREAM Serves 10 Ingredients: 1/2 pint/280ml milk 1/2 pint/280ml double cream 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped zest from 8-10 tangerines 2oz/50g sugar 4 organic egg yolks 1 1/2 pints/840ml fresh tangerine juice from about 7 1/2 lb/3.5kg medium tangerines or satsumas 4tbs golden syrup

Preparation: Bring milk, cream, vanilla bean and zest to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to steep for one hour. Strain. Whisk sugar and egg yolks together. Reheat cream and whisk small amount into yolks. Pour mixture back into pan with remaining cream and place over a moderate heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in juice and syrup. Taste, and if not sweet enough, add another tablespoon of syrup. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Freeze in ice-cream maker.