Your Father’s Day Menu
As promised, here are my suggestions for cooking for the dad(s) in your life this Father's Day. This is a labour intensive but not difficult list of dishes so of course feel free to pick and choose and I'm including a couple of short cuts along the way.
Father’s Day Menu
- Grilled Fontina Pizza with Argula
- Battered Prawns with Spicy Aioli
- Best Ribeye Steak
- Green Leaf Salad
- Deconstructed Strawberry “Shortcake”
As this is quite a rich meal, you can cut back a little on portion sizes. (One 8-inch pizza will feed four people as an hors d’oeuvre.) And this is a menu to be spread across a few hours as you prepare each dish. Do all prep in advance. The actual cooking needs to happen in the moment, but cooking time for everything is short.)
Grilled Fontina Pizza with Arugula
Starting off any dinner party with a grilled pizza is a great way to set a casual, inclusive vibe. People love standing around the grill with a cocktail in hand. Click here for the recipe. This pizza pairs beautifully with an Aperol Spritz!
Next, the prawns. This recipe is inspired by one of my favourite Vancouver haunts, West Oak.
Battered Prawns with Spicy Aioli
- 2 or 3 tiger prawns per person (shells, tails and heads removed and deveined)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup beer
- 3/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise (trust me, it’s worth hunting down for this dish)
- 1/4 cup condensed milk
- juice of half a lemon or lime
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon (or more) chili sauce (I use Sambal Oelek)
- 2 chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup candied walnuts (Optional. Available at specialty grocers)
- Sunflower or canola oil for deep frying
Pour oil into pot so it’s 3 or 4 inches deep. Heat to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, beer and a teaspoon of salt to form a batter. Dredge prawns in batter. Deep fry prawns in batches for a few minutes, until they turn golden. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Then toss in the following dressing.
To make dressing, whisk together Japanese mayonnaise, condensed milk, lemon, honey and chili sauce. Amounts are approximate and you will need to make small adjustments as you go, depending on your tastes. And of course the amount of dressing you need will depend on the amount of prawns you’re frying. Don’t overdress.
Fold in walnuts if you’re using them. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle black sesame seeds and chopped scallions over top and serve. These prawns are even more delicious when enjoyed with a lager beer.
Best Ribeye Steak
Watch this video. There is no reason to eat any other steak. Due to the high fat content of ribeye it’s usually preferable when served a little better done then a cut that has very little fat, like a filet mignon. And by that I mean medium-rare to medium.
Serve family style on a cutting board. Pair it with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Green leaf salad
Anyone who reads my menu suggestions regularly knows I almost always suggest a green leaf salad. It goes with everything and don’t we all need more greens? Just squeeze half a lemon into a small bowl and whisk in your finest olive oil (a few drops at a time at first), and sea salt. If you want to get fancy, throw in a little dried oregano. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss with an assortment of greens (I like bibb and green together. Watercress is also a good choice for this dressing). After tossing, sprinkle a little more salt over salad and toss again.
Deconstructed Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberries are in season right now, so that alone will make this a winner. Just slice strawberries, stir them with white sugar (about one teaspoon per small carton of strawberries) and let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then serve with homemade whipped cream and sugar cookies or shortbread from your favourite bakery
If I’ve learned anything in the kitchen, it’s the importance of not taking any of it too seriously, asking for help along the way and having fun with the people you’re with. Don’t be a hero. It should never be about making it perfect (because that usually isn’t all that much fun). And be thankful if you’ve got a dad to cook for this weekend. I sure miss mine!