Father's Day is many things. Some of them sweet and sentimental, yes, but also a whole lot of holy-crap-what-do-I-DO anxieties. I'm the only child of divorced parents, so making Father's Day a special occassion falls squarely onto my shoulders. And let me tell you, Atlas ain't got nothin' on me. First of all, my dad's birthday consistently falls on the same week as Father's Day. No fair, right? Considering that he's pretty hard to shop for to begin with, finding a way to treat him not once, but twice in the space of a single week is a pretty overwhelming prospect. Which is why I try to pull out all the stops and whip up a master meal as a gift unto itself.
We culled the Serious Eats team to see what they would make for their fathers—an approach we took for Mother's Day last year. While we sent an almost comically dessert-heavy menu mom's way, we actually wound up with a cohesive, totally well-rounded, (relatively) seasonal menu for dad. I know I'll be putting more than a few of these recipes to good use come Sunday. Now I just have to find him that birthday present...
What ultimate Father's Day dish would you make for dad? Tell us in the comments below!
Ultra Crispy Roast Potatoes
"When it comes to warm weather eating, my dad is a tried and true grill beast. Actually he's a grill beast year-round, and I'll often find him in the dead of winter with his Russian fur cap and his Weber grilling burgers in the snow because "they don't taste right inside." (Love you, Dad.) This year we're going out for father's day to let someone else do the cooking, but on more casual nights, I'm in charge of the steak-y sides. When I roast potatoes, it's a sort of lazy slow-roasting process, but Kenji's recipe for ultra-crispy spuds looks like an improvement." —Max Falkowitz
Cilantro Pesto with Fresh Pasta
"My dad is a pesto freak. Admittedly, I might be shooting myself in the foot with this one, because he makes an absurdly delicious mortar-and-pestle pesto that's virtually impossible to beat. But his preparation is also kind of traditional; shaking things up gives me a little wriggle room and lets me incorporate cilantro, which he loves almost as much as pesto. With some light, tender fresh pasta, I think he'd be pretty blissed out." —Niki Achitoff-Gray
Seared Scallops with Pea Purée and Vermouth Sauce
"My dad is a big fan of scallops, though for some reason we really only have them during the summer when we're on Cape Cod. He also likes peas, and they're in season, so that's another bonus. But what made the dish the obvious Father's Day choice is the vermouth sauce. It's not something I'd make all the time and it gives it that 'hey, it's a special day' feeling. —Carrie Vasios
Ultimate Ribeye Steak
"My dad is a steak guy, what can I say? He likes steakhouses, when he sees a steak on the menu he orders it, he has extra helpings of prime rib at Christmas dinner, he even convinces himself that he's still on the Atkin's diet because it's healthy, and not because it's an excuse to eat more steak.
So what would I make for him? The ultimate steak experience, which, IMHO, is my 61-Day Dry Aged, Sous-Vide, Torched-And-Seared Ribeye. Beef don't get much better than that." —J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
Dry-aging and sous-vide not in your wheelhouse? Try regular ol' ribeye steaks on the grill, instead. Get the recipe for Perfect Grilled Ribeye Steaks »
Pizza with Fresh Clams, Garlic, Mozzarella, Romano, and Basil
"My dad loves clams, and his favorite is steamers, so I'd probably make him a big pot of those with plenty of drawn butter. But to round out the meal, this clam pie would do nicely. But, with apologies to Kenji, I'd leave out the mozzarella. I don't always agree, but Steve Fishner is a staunch believer in the seafood-and-dairy-don't-mix rule." —Ben Fishner
Extra Smooth Pumpkin Pie
"I know it's not the right season, but my dad loves pumpkin pie, so I'd make him one of these if he was nearby. I especially like pumpkin pie when it's had a day to really solidify, so I might make it the day before. Lots of whipped cream on top!" —Maggie Hoffman
Peanut Butter and Jelly Roll-Up Cookies
"When I was growing up, one of my dad's signature late-night snacks was a triple-decker (yes, he lives on the edge) peanut butter and jelly sandwich on toasted white bread. What can I say? The man takes pleasure in the classics. To honor his lifelong love of both PB&J and anything cavity-inducing, I'd make these peanut butter and jelly roll-ups, served, obviously, with a glass of milk. As he would say: 'Brilliant.'"—Jamie Feldmar
About the author: Niki Achitoff-Gray is the associate editor of Serious Eats and a part-time student at the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into pizza. Also, she likes offal. A lot.