My dad is not what you would call an adventurous eater.
But that doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate a good meal. In fact, he has come a long way from the more limited diet I remember growing up. A true meat-and-potatoes man, he now embraces zucchini as well as hot dogs, broccoli in addition to pork chops. He has recently discovered the wonders of things like short ribs and risotto.
I don't think he would call himself an avid cook, but he's no stranger to the kitchen, always up for helping to grate cheese or slice potatoes. There are some things he makes regularly, lending his Dad touch to dishes including grilled cheese, zucchini noodles, hash browns. His scrambled eggs are still the best egg dish in town.
One of his very favorite things to eat is steak, something he probably got from his filet mignon-loving parents, and has since ingrained in me. A reliably gut-busting story in our family is the time I was 10 years old and ordered a filet then slathered it with ketchup.
So for dad's special day, I am going to be cooking up a large cut of meat. New York Strip is an ideal option to make at home, more affordable than a filet but still easy enough to work with and flavorful.
I use a cast iron skillet to cook my steaks at home, but if you don't have one of these, use the heaviest skillet you have. Set it on the stove and crank the heat up to high, allowing the pan to get hot before adding any meat to it.
Meanwhile, pat the meat dry with a couple of paper towels. This removes moisture from the steak, allowing it to get a better sear. Season with salt and pepper on both sides, then place it into the pan.
The pan should be smoking at this point, and the steak should sizzle immediately. Let it cook on this side for about a minute, then flip it over and let it cook on the other side for another minute. Press down gently and keep cooking, flipping every 30 seconds or so. After about 4 or 5 minutes, check for doneness. Medium-rare meat will have a reading of 120 to 125 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Remove from the pan and move to a plate or other flat surface. Cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest at least 5 minutes.
If you can persuade Dad to give up the standard baked potato with his steak, serve it with a creamy risotto that uses mushrooms and caramelized onions to match the meat's umami flavor. (If you go with the potato, make sure to serve with plenty of butter and chopped scallions or chives on the side.)
It's best to start the steak after the risotto is completely finished and left to stay warm on a burner turned very low. That way, both can be served warm and at their most flavorful. A meal fit for the dads who cook — or those who will just eagerly clean their plate.