When  America celebrates the Fourth of July, it’s a great time to stop and appreciate the stunning diversity of cuisine brought to this country by the millions of immigrants who have come to America for over 240 years.

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Consider how Americans are blessed with a cuisine that provides an opportunity to enjoy Mexican tacos, Swiss fondue, Irish baked potatoes, Russian cheesecake, Chinese hot and sour soup to name just a few.

One national cuisine enjoyed by a large majority of Americans is Italian, thankfully now appreciated as including many, many more outstanding dishes then 1950’s pasta from a can.

A perfect example of an Italian entrée that more truly represent the range of Italian cuisine is…

Italian Orange and Basil Mussels


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 pounds Taylor Mussels in shells, scrubbed, beards pulled off
  • 1/3 cup sliced fresh basil leaves, divided


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Cook garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add wine, orange juice, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chili flakes and let simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Add mussels and half the basil; cook, covered, until mussels have opened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining basil.
  6. Serve with warm crusty Italian bread such as ciabatta.