There’s no better way to show dad how much you care than to cook up a homegrown Father’s Day feast. Whether you grow the goods yourself or pick them up from a local farmer, he’ll appreciate the effort you put into building a meal around fresh ingredients.
Although the weather has been frightful, there are a number of new crops starting to come to market. Butler Green Farm has a bumper crop of sugar snap peas coming on. These super sweet and crunchy pods are best raw or barely cooked in boiling water for about a minute. They make a great garnish for salads straight out of the bag, or blanched and paired with thinly sliced lamb in this hearty main dish salad. The boneless lamb sirloins from Ellensburg’s Superior Farms available at Central Market would work well in this dish. Or splurge and pair sugar snaps with fresh salmon in a recipe from New York Magazine. Substitute pancetta for the guanciale, and regular mint will do for the black mint that’s called for. It’s simple and tasty.
Right now the weather folks are saying the sun might make an appearance for Dad’s day, so you may want to venture outdoors and fire up the barbeque. I’m planning to use a Charlie Trotter recipe to grill a pork tenderloin from Lopez Island Farm. Another local grilling choice would be Superior Farm lamb chops (available at Central Market), marinated and grilled. Or you could grill some of the Pacific spot prawns that have been showing up at Central Market recently. Last week there were some in the live tank, which is the very best way to buy them. Spot Prawns are one of the most sustainable and local seafood choices available. I grill them in the shell for the best flavor. To keep the precious prawns from falling through the cracks, I run two skewers side by side through several shrimp, making a little shrimp raft that can be easily turned and removed from the grill. Here is a nice recipe that pairs grilled spot prawns with an arugula salad. Leapfrog Farm and Persephone Farms are offering local arugula at the Farmers’ Market.
All of these meat courses could be accompanied by grilled vegetables, seasoned and either brushed or tossed with a little olive oil prior to grilling. Last week I grilled up some of the baby summer squash and spring onions that Butler Green is offering with delicious results – they’re both small enough to just cut in half lengthwise and place on the grill. Another seasonal grilling candidate would be garlic scapes, available from Laughing Crow Farm. Garlic scapes, you ask? Those are the curly green stalks put up by hardneck garlic. They need to be cut off for the garlic to ripen properly. That means that Betsey Wittick will have lots of garlic scapes to sell -- great news if you know what to do with them. They look like green onions, and have a mild garlic taste. Lightly coated with oil and grilled until tender, they make a tasty and unusual side dish.
Now it’s time to think about desert. If you want to wow dad the easy way, get in line early at the Bainbridge Farmers Market for some of Jeannie Woods’ incredible baked goods at the La Belle Saison stand. Or you could whip up some of these lovely little goat cheese custards, using Port Madison Farm’s fresh chevre.
I hope you enjoy this opportunity to celebrate the place you live as you create that special meal for dad. Happy Father’s Day!