My sweetie’s dad was coming over for a Father’s Day meal, so I wanted to try to cook something special yesterday. It took me a little while to figure out my menu but at the end of the day it worked beautifully. In fact I got praise from both “men in my life” that it was one of my best meals to date, from start to finish!
Here’s the breakdown on what I prepared.
One of dad’s favorite foods is chicken livers – me too! I know that sounds weird but I just love chicken liver, either chopped or as an Italian-style crostini topping. I’ve tried numerous recipes for preparing them as a crostini topping and often wasn’t fully satisfied with the results – until now! I followed the recipe in Jennifer McLagan’s The Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal, which uses shallots, rosemary, capers and dry vermouth for seasoning and flavor. This was the best I’ve ever tasted, even if it’s not much to look at.
To serve I grilled up some crostini bread slices, and also made a fresh tomato topping with onions, olive oil, parsley and a fire-roasted long hot pepper.
For the main course, I figured nothing says Father’s Day like steaks on the grill! I had some beautiful rib eye steaks from Monte the Meat Man, which I seasoned simply with a little olive oil, ground pepper and Italian herb-flavored sea salt. It was raining out, but that was no problem as I just used my Emeril Cast-Iron Grill Pan. The more I use that pan, the more I love it as it’s so much easier to control and monitor the temperature for perfect grilling than using an outdoor gas grill.
I wanted to do something different than typical potatoes as a side dish. One of my local farmers’ markets had beautiful local turnips this past week, so I ended up trying Tyler Florence’s Buttered Turnip Puree. I actually cut back a little bit on the butter and thickened the puree on the stove top a bit before serving, as it seemed a little thin. I can say, however, that it was a beautiful pairing with the steaks, which I had just finished off with a little balsamic vinegar and fresh baby bitter greens from the garden. The parsnips added a super-creamy note to the steaks – this is a combination I am definitely going to make again in the future and it got rave reviews from everyone.
Finally, what to do for dessert? Well, I had just seen an episode of Mary Ann Esposito’s “Ciao Italia” the other morning where she’d made these stunning looking Whipped Ricotta Cherry Parfaits. Lucky for me, my farmers’ market had fresh local cherries too so I could give the recipe a try. It came out just as good as it had looked on tv, with a rich cheesecake-like flavor without all of the hard work!
All in all, I couldn’t have been happier with how everything came out! It was also a nice meal for me as a chef as I was able to do so much of the preparation work in advance – the parfaits, the liver, the tomato salsa – and then only quickly finish up the parsnips and steaks right before serving. And let’s also note there was nary a leftover in sight by the end of the evening either – save that one extra cherry parfait that sweetie and I will share tonight!