My Dad and I share an enduring love of food. A couple of times a month, my phone will "ping" — and there will be a photo of a dish that he's screen-shotted from a local restaurant that he wants to try. (Most recently, it was a fried chicken sandwich on a brioche bun, topped with candied bacon and crisp tomato slices.)
Dad is always the first to suggest trying a new restaurant or recipe. As I sit here typing this, we're on a family trip, and he's scheduled our days around dinner reservations and what time his favorite greasy-spoon opens their doors.
His tastes veer classic — he loves a good, basic veal parmesan and a slice of simple key lime pie — but is always ready to try something outside the box. I kept him in mind as I put together this menu for a better-than-classic steak and bourbon dinner for Father's Day. It hits a lot of the key dishes that we think of for steak dinners, like potatoes and a something akin to a gratin — but it all feels very fresh.
As Michael La Corte wrote for Salon, "While you may have a favorite steakhouse that prepares your beef exactly how you like it, there's no need to feel like you can't replicate that magic without ever leaving home." His recipe for a ridiculously easy steak keeps it simple, calling for a thick steak, flaky sea salt and a healthy amount of butter. La Corte's steak sauce brings the flavor with shallots, red wine, beef stock and garlic. Oh, and more butter!
This isn't so much a recipe as it is a technique that will radically alter how you eat potatoes during the summer. When speaking with Elliot Prag, the lead instructor of the health-supportive culinary arts program at the Institute of Culinary Education, he recommended parboiling red potatoes until they are just soft before slicing them in half and placing them on the grill until they get some nice, dark grill marks. For a little brightness, serve these with some lemon-garlic aioli.
This recipe by Sarah Jampel has entered the regular rotation in my home because it makes asparagus feel a little decadent — an adjective that I don't often associate with the grassy, woody vegetable. After being browned on a sizzling sheet pan, the asparagus is showered with a grated Gruyère and sprinkled with a garlicky topping of panko and walnuts.
I love this ice cream loaf recipe — written by Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams, who was inspired by Molly Baz — because it's a really fun play on the concept of post-dinner coffee and dessert. And it couldn't be simpler to put together: Mix up some coffee ice cream, salty peanuts and (if you like) a swirl of creamy peanut butter. Place it in a prepared loaf pan to re-freeze. After that, it's time to slice and serve.
There's something iconic about the pairing of a good steak and a good bourbon, and the Gold Rush cocktail is a nice update on the classics. As Salon's Erin Keane wrote in her Oracle Pour column, "The Gold Rush is like a whiskey sour, but its sweetness is more sophisticated; it's like a Bee's Knee, with cozy bourbon instead of bracing gin. Thanks to its basic, foolproof recipe, it invites play."