Simple tastes for Dad

06/15/2011 7:26 AM

06/15/2011 7:26 AM

ON Father’s Day, many dads don an apron, fire up the grill and toss on steaks. But is that what Dad really wants? To find out, we asked chefs what they would request if someone were cooking for them this Father’s Day. While the dishes were different, the dads agreed on one thing: Keep it simple.

The two, who handle fancy foods and special requests at work all the time, said they wanted easy-to-prepare dishes with simple seasonings.

Nick Seccia: The executive chef at the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich., would request Herb Roasted Free-Range Chicken with Sweet Corn Relish and Chimichurri Sauce.

“This dish is easy and something kids can lend a hand in making,” says Seccia. He and his wife, Alisa, are the parents of Nick III, 9.

Seccia often gardens and cooks at home with his son, using locally grown ingredients, including those from his home garden.

Seccia likes this roasted chicken dish because it calls for free-range chicken, which is moist with a distinct flavor.

“I have a brick oven that we cook in at home, and this dish is a nice summertime thing,” says Seccia.

“The corn relish also is indicative of the season, or soon-to-be season, and the same with chimichurri,” he says.

Steve Allen: The chef/co-owner of Steve & Rocky’s in Novi, Mich., says a rib-eye or porterhouse steak would fit the bill for Father’s Day.

A fan of local foods, Allen says he would want “a nice steak from friends who raise beef locally.”

“It’s simply seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic,” he says.

“Brush it with a little oil, and then toss it on the grill.”

Allen and his wife, Terri, have a large garden and raise hogs, laying hens, turkeys and other animals, which his three children, Sarah, 15, Emma, 12, and Michael, 10, all help tend.

An heirloom tomato salad is appropriate with this dish, according to Allen.

“I love Brandywine tomatoes,” he says. “Toss them with a simple vinaigrette dressing topped with some gorgonzola cheese and maybe some Vidalia onions.”


2 rib-eye or porterhouse steaks (about 8 ounces each, at least 1 inch thick) Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for the steak 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned, sliced 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced Chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and chives Prepare a charcoal grill. Season the steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set the steak aside while the grill heats to medium-high. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil with the butter. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the skillet. Saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs an d keep warm. Brush the steak with oil. Place the steak on the grill over medium-high heat to sear . After about 2 minutes, give the steaks about a quarter turn so you get nice cross-hatched grill marks. Continue to cook about 3-5 minutes more. Flip the steak and move it to cooler part of the grill to finish the cooking. Remove from the grill and let rest a few minutes before serving with sauteed mushrooms and an heirloom tomato salad.

Adapted from chef Steve Allen of Steve and Rocky’s, Novi, Mich.


1 free-range chicken, about 3 to 4 pounds Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste (about 1 tablespoon each) MARINADE 3 tablespoons chopped parsley 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme 3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil 3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon honey 3 tablespoons olive oil FOR SERVING (see notes) Sweet Corn Relish Chimichurri Sauce Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade and rub all over and inside the chicken and refrigerate covered overnight. When ready to roast the chicken, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade (discard excess ) and place chicken on a roasting rack. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour, depending on the size of the chicken or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Cut into quarters. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan, deglaze with a small amount of water, and glaze the cut chicken with pan juices, if desired. Serve the chicken quarters with Sweet Corn Relish and Chimichurri.

To make Sweet Corn Relish: In a bowl, combine corn cut from 3 ears, ½ cup minced red bell pepper, ½ minced red onion, ½ cup shredded green cabbage, ¼ cup minced carrot. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Place all this in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring to a boil 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1 tablespoon celery seed. Remove from the heat and pour over the vegetables while the brine is still hot. Marinate overnight or up to 3 days.

To make Chimichurri Sauce: In a food processor, combine 1 cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 cup packed parsley leaves, ½ cup fresh oregano leaves, 1/3 cup Spanish onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno and juice from 1 lemon. Process until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

From Nick Seccia, executive chef at the Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich.

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