You can go fancy or simple on Father’s Day, but most menus to honor Dad seem to require a presence at the grill. Often, that person turns out to be Dad himself, but doesn’t he actually prefer hanging out on the deck or patio, beer in one hand, spatula in the other?

This menu is in the category of simple, but if Dad is an ice cream kind of a guy, you can add a sundae bar (ice cream, hot fudge sauce, chopped nuts, etc.) to crown the meal, and it’s a good bet everyone will be very happy.

The Perfect Hamburger

As all good cooks know, the best hamburger depends almost entirely on starting with good meat. Chuck, preferably freshly ground, has just about the perfect fat-to-lean ratio, and ground sirloin is a fine second choice. Round is too lean and “ground beef” is often too fatty, but if you do need to buy the generic ground product, opt for 85 percent lean.

Use a light hand to shape the patties, and a clean grill or hot pan to cook them on, and sandwich the burgers between the roll of your choice and personalize with your favorite garnishes.

Serves 4

1½ pounds freshly ground chuck (80 to 85 percent lean)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 soft hamburger buns, Kaiser rolls, or Portuguese rolls, lightly toasted and buttered

Thick slices of ripe tomato

Thin slices of sweet onion

Lettuce leaves

Optional condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise

Build a medium-hot charcoal fire, preheat a gas grill, or preheat a large, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet. Divide meat into 4 portions and shape into patties about 4 inches in diameter. Try not to compact the meat together too much. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Grill or pan-fry the patties until they reach the desired degree of doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium. Serve on rolls with the toppings.

Gorgeous Greek Salad

This beautiful salad has a little something to please everyone. I like to serve it in a wide, shallow salad bowl or on a rimmed platter, the better to showcase all the delicious elements.

Serves 6


4 to 6 cups mixed salad greens such as romaine, arugula, Boston lettuce

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

12 halved grape tomatoes, or tomato wedges

¾ cup thinly sliced celery

Half a red onion, thinly sliced

1 small or half a large green bell pepper, cut into rings

16 Kalamata olives

1½ cups crumbled feta cheese

1 tablespoon small capers, drained

8 anchovy fillets, optional


3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil or a combination of olive and vegetable oil

Line a good-sized shallow bowl or platter with greens. Arrange or scatter over the greens the cucumber, tomatoes, celery, onion, green pepper, olives, feta and capers. Crisscross optional anchovies over the top. (Can be arranged a few hours before serving and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano and mustard. Slowly add the oil and whisk until emulsified. (Can be made ahead and stored for several days in the refrigerator.)

Drizzle dressing over the salad. If the serving bowl is shallow enough, you don’t need to toss it and disturb the composition.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted at: