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« A Prize from the County Fair | Main | In Search of the Ultimate Salade Niçoise »

Fourth of July in a Hurry

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

If you’re cooking for the Fourth of July, a midweek holiday is not your friend. Who has time to prep on the workday before?

Still, I’m glad that, unlike Memorial Day and Presidents Day, the holiday falls on its true date—and hasn’t been switched irreverently to the closest Monday for the convenience of a three-day weekend.

I’m trying to streamline our Fourth of July menu with simple-to-prepare dishes to accommodate a Tuesday family get-together. Recipes from our Special Fork archives and recipe database will ensure a do-able celebratory lunch. You might like to try some of these recipes, too.


  • Killer Caprese, a recipe by Katie Barreira, is as easy as it gets, requiring just about 5 minutes of prep time. Serve on a blue platter if you’ve got one.

Main Course

  • Grilled hamburgers are the summer classic.
  • How to Dress a Burger features tips on breads, condiments and more from Lori Powell.
  • Tips for Grilling Burgers are practical suggestions from Steve Hu, Special Fork’s own family griller, who has decades of experience turning out juicy and delicious meat patties every time.

Side Dishes

  • Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad uses the best of in-season summer produce in a simple, colorful side dish.
  • Farro Herb Salad with Feta and Roasted Peppers, a recipe by Lori Powell, can be made from start to finish in about 35 minutes. Lots of parsley and mint give this salad a delightful summer freshness.
  • Four Bean Salad, another recipe by Lori Powell, can also be made in about 35 minutes. The classic picnic salad is updated in this version, using edamame and fresh herbs.
  • Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad is a gorgeous salad that can be put together in a half hour. Prep the parts and toss together just before serving. Recipe by Andrew Hunter.


  • Vanilla ice cream sprinkled with a handful of strawberries and blueberries, can be drizzled with hot fudge sauce before decorating with Puff Pastry Stars to end your Fourth of July on a dazzling, red, white and blue note.
  • You can buy the sauce to save time, but a decadent Fudge Sauce is simple to make.

Have a happy—and safe—Fourth of July!

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