With Father’s Day almost at hand, many of us are planning celebrations outdoors. I’ve turned for inspiration to The Big Book of Backyard Cooking, which I authored back in 2004. The recipes in this collection always seem to please my husband, the dad and granddad in our family. He loves any dish if coded with the letters BLT, plus slow-cooked barbecued ribs, grilled lamb chops or rib-eye steaks simply garnished, homemade or purchased artisanal ice creams, and any summer dessert that includes cherries or peaches. Looking through the book, it didn’t take long to find a trio of dishes certain to please his palate. Lamb Chops with Roquefort, Figs, and Rosemary, BLT Pasta Salad, and Best Ever Caramel Sauce that could be used for peach sundaes jumped off the page.
The recipe for the lamb chops is just as tempting today as it was over a decade ago. Wine marinated lamb chops (either loin or rib) are grilled and then topped with crumbled Roquefort, wine-soaked figs, and chopped rosemary. The slightly charred meat combined with the salty cheese, sweet fruit, plus an herbal accent of rosemary makes a stellar dish.
For the pasta salad, crispy bacon, multi-hued cherry or grape tomatoes, and coarsely chopped arugula are the primary accents to a cooked pasta such as farfalle or penne, all tossed in a Parmesan mayonnaise dressing. This side dish can be assembled an hour ahead and makes a fine partner not only to lamb, but to grilled chicken or steaks as well.
I’ve never met a caramel sauce I didn’t like, but this one, due to the addition of cream cheese and butter, is noteworthy for its extra creaminess. For sundaes you place a couple of scoops of purchased vanilla ice cream in a bowl or wine glass (I used small glass canning jars minus lids), then top with fresh sliced peaches, and a generous drizzle of caramel.
Happy Father’s Day this Sunday, June 21st, to all the dads and granddads out there!