This summer, fireworks won't be the only dazzlers on the Fourth of July--or at your summer backyard barbecue. When you gather friends and family, serve up the best of the season with flavors that sparkle, sizzle and satisfy.
First, make it easy. Pour your guests a restaurant-quality, ready-to-serve Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita. Blended with the rich orange flavor of Grand Marnier, this golden margarita is great served frozen or on the rocks--whichever you prefer. You also can use golden margarita in vinaigrettes for salads or in bastes and glazes for grilled food, or you can drizzle it over desserts. Or pull out the blender to make a signature Northwest Cherry Bomb Margarita with sweet cherries and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Next, stir together a Firecracker Salsa or a crisp salad made with fresh sweet cherries from the Pacific Northwest. Cherries remain one of the last truly seasonal fruits. Their short but oh-so-sweet season begins in early June and runs through mid-August. Add them to your favorite recipes or simply eat these two-bite-size beauties out of hand. Sweet cherries contain antioxidants and are rich in vitamin C. They're a good source of fiber, yet fat- and cholesterol-free, with a Glycemic Index of only 22.
Then, fire up the grill. What better entrée to sizzle on the grill than fresh, wild-caught Alaska salmon from sustainable fisheries. Alaska salmon have firm flesh and great taste from cold, clean waters. Choose from among five different species: King, Coho, Keta, Sockeye or Pink. To heighten salmon's superb flavor even more, brush on a grilling glaze flavored with golden margarita and chipotle. Then celebrate that something that tastes this great can be so good for you. Salmon, as you know, is high in omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to heart health.
Grilled Alaska Salmon with Herbed Orzo and Margarita Salad
4 Alaska Salmon steaks or fillets (4 to 6 ounces each), seasoned to taste and grilled
12 ounces orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
3 tablespoons Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita
In large bowl, mix orzo and herbs. Season with kosher salt and red pepper flakes. Spoon onto serving plates. Top with salmon portions. Arrange sugar snap peas, asparagus and cherries over salmon. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients; drizzle over salad. Serve alongside salmon and orzo. Makes 4 servings.
Northwest Cherry Bomb Margarita
1 to 1 1/2 cups pitted sweet Northwest Cherries
Place all ingredients, except mint and 4 fresh cherries, in blender and process until smooth. Pour into 4 glasses over ice. Garnish with mint leaves and cherries. Makes 4 servings.
Chipotle-Glazed Alaska Salmon With Northwest Cherry Firecracker Salsa
4 Alaska salmon fillets (6 to 8 ounces each) skin on, or 1 Alaska salmon side (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
Olive oil, for brushing
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups pitted fresh sweet Northwest Cherries, halved
To make glaze, blend melted butter, margarita, brown sugar and chili powder. Set aside. For salsa, in large bowl combine cherries, bell pepper, onions and jalapeño. In small bowl, whisk together margarita, olive oil, chili powder and salt. Pour over salsa; stir to blend. Set aside (can be served chilled or at room temperature). Heat grill to medium-high heat (400 F). Brush both sides of salmon with olive oil. Sprinkle flesh side with salt and lemon pepper. Grill salmon, flesh side down, 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Turn over halfway through cooking time. Brush salmon with glaze during last 1 to 2 minutes of grilling. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout. Pour any unused glaze over salmon just before serving, and serve with salsa. Makes 4 servings.