If Dad enjoys grilling – and for most men there seems to be something appealingly primal about standing out in the cold poking at fire with sticks – he won’t mind doing the final cooking if all the prep work is finished.
Lamb is particularly good done on the grill, especially when rubbed with a garlicky green pesto, and what could be better than a baked potato “bar” to go with the meat?
Add steamed asparagus or a salad alongside, and for Father’s Day dessert, how about cupcakes upon which you have written “We Love You, Dad” with colored-icing tubes?
Grilled Lamb Chops with Rosemary-Mint Pesto
Mint sauce is the classical condiment for lamb, but here I’ve given the herb sauce a different spin by combining it with rosemary in a pesto uniquely suited to the meat. If you have leftover pesto, use it as a baked potato topping or blend with mayonnaise or sour cream to make a vegetable dip.
½ cup lightly packed mint leaves
½ cup lightly packed parsley sprigs
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, pulled from stems
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¼ cup olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
8 loin lamb chops, cut 1 inch thick
Coarse-ground or cracked black pepper
In a food processor, combine mint, parsley, rosemary, cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper flakes. Pulse to make a rough paste. With motor running, slowly pour oil through the feed tube and process until the sauce is a smooth puree. (Sauce may be stored overnight in the refrigerator, but it will darken in color slightly. Return to room temperature before using.)
Build a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Season meat with salt and black pepper. Spoon out 2 tablespoons of the pesto and brush it over the lamb chops, reserving remainder for passing around at the table.
Grill the lamb, turning once, until it cooks to the desired degree of doneness, about 10 minutes for medium. Serve with a bowl of the pesto for spooning over the meat at the table.
Big E Baked Stuffed Potato
At the enormous annual summer exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts, known fondly as the “Big E,” each New England state has a large hall where it showcases its best products, culinary and otherwise. In the Maine hall, it’s seafood and blueberries, naturally – but the real attraction is the concession stand run by the Maine Potato Board. At lunchtime, the lines snake out the door and down the street. They’re all waiting for the best lunch deal in town: the Big E Maine Baked Stuffed Potato. Upwards of 5,000 potatoes per day are freshly baked, split and topped with butter, sour cream, bacon bits and chives. Toppings include a commercial variety of cheese sauce, too, which you can use or try the simple recipe below.
4 large baking potatoes, such as Maine Superiors, or any Russet potato
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus about 3 tablespoons additional for topping potato
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1½ cups whole or lowfat milk
2/3 cup shredded orange cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup crumbled bacon
½ cup or more sour cream
¼ cup snipped chives
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Scrub potatoes and prick in a couple of places with a fork. Place potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and mustard and cook over medium-high heat, whisking, for 1 minute. Add the milk and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking almost constantly. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, stirring until it melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve all the toppings in small serving bowls if guests would like to serve themselves. Split the potatoes lengthwise and press the sides to expose more of the flesh.
Top with butter, cheese sauce, bacon, sour cream and chives, and serve.
Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at: