Me and my guys - all smiles after a great meal

This year, I was lucky enough to share Father’s Day with two great dads: my father Pete, who was visiting from Duluth, Minnesota, and my husband Matt. These two amazing guys deserve to be celebrated, and what better way than to treat them to a delicious Sunday supper at home?

Meals are the cornerstones of our gatherings, and we often spend days preparing time-honored family recipes. Not this time, though: Our Father’s Day (and most weekend days of late) was spent coaching and spectating at the ball field, so our meal had to be both fast and fabulous.

My dad, Pete Miller, with my sons Griffin and Quinn
My dad, Pete Miller, with my sons Griffin and Quinn (fresh off the baseball diamond)

My dad and my husband happen to share the same favorite meal: Copper River Sockeye Salmon, flown in fresh from Alaska. Ours arrived at Heinen’s less than 24 hours after it was caught – a herculean feat.

According to my husband, this sustainably caught, wild fish “tastes like candy.”

How lucky are we that the salmon were running over Father’s Day, and that Heinen’s had the finest Copper River Salmon available right here in Barrington, beckoning to me from their gorgeous seafood display? And how great that salmon is so wonderfully quick and easy to prepare, making it the perfect post-game meal? I love it when the stars align.

Gorgeous Copper River Salmon from Heinen's, ready to grill
Gorgeous Copper River Salmon from Heinen’s, ready to grill

There are lots of delicious ways to prepare salmon, but I’m inclined to keep it simple and let the fish’s flavor shine. You can’t go wrong with brushing on a bit of olive oil, and lightly seasoning the fillets with Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Salmon Magic™. We also coated part of one fillet with fresh herbs – that’s always delish too. (You can find more tips on how to grill salmon here.)

A rainbow of grilled veggies
Grilled veggies, hot off the grill: asparagus, orange and red peppers, red onion, zucchini and squash.

A rainbow of grilled veggies (drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper) and creamy mashed potatoes were the perfect accompaniment to the salmon, and fit the bill of keeping the meal easy and yummy.

Happy grill chefs Pete and Sue Miller
Happy grill mates Pete and Sue Miller

I put my dad to work on the grill (his preferred post), with a Deschutes Brewery Twilight Summer Ale in hand and Potter’s Cranberry Hazelnut Crisps with Hidden Springs Creamery’s Driftless sheep milk cheese to snack on. His wife Sue kept him company while he grilled the veggies to perfection.

While the veggies and salmon cooked on the grill, I whipped up a batch of Ina Garten’s Parmesan Smashed Potatoes using Cal-Organic Farms’ organic red potatoes. This rich crowd pleaser is definitely in the “splurge” category, but hey, it’s Father’s Day – and we’ve been tireless baseball spectators.

That burns lots of calories, right?

As the potatoes boiled, I set the table. Heinen’s happy sunflower bunches (3 for $12) made the perfect centerpiece for our meal.

Heinen's sunflowers brightened our table - $12 for 3 bunches
Heinen’s sunflowers brightened our table – $12 for 3 bunches

Everything came together quickly, and before we knew it dinner was ready!

Two fantastic dads, with the fruits of their labor
Two fantastic dads, with the fruits of their labor

When we put it all together, it looked like this:

Copper River Salmon, grilled vegetables, and Parmesan smashed potatoes...delicious.
Copper River Salmon, grilled vegetables, and Parmesan smashed potatoes…simple and delicious.

The salmon was delectable – I think it really did taste like candy – and the veggies and potatoes added great flavor and texture.

The grown-ups enjoyed glasses of Argyle’s 2012 Pinot Noir, an Oregon wine from the Willamette Valley. My dad’s a red wine lover, and the Argyle was an amazing pairing, and perfectly complemented the meal (many thanks to Theresa Clark, Heinen’s wine and cheese guru, for the recommendation!).

Me and my guys - all smiles after a great meal
Me and my guys – all smiles after a great meal

Our meal was delicious, but the best part of the evening was sharing laughter and making memories. Our gatherings may happen less frequently than we’d like, but we always manage to fill them to the brim with happy times. Thank you, Heinen’s, for helping us mark another happy occasion together – our hearts and bellies are full!

Heinen's Fine Foods - 500 N. Hough Street in Barrington, Illinois
Heinen’s Fine Foods – 500 N. Hough Street in Barrington, Illinois

Here’s the recipe for Ina Garten’s Parmesan Smashed Potatoes:

Recipe courtesy Ina Garten for Food Network Magazine


3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a 4-quart saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender. Drain.

In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half and butter.

Put the potatoes into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix them for a few seconds on low speed to break them up. Slowly add the hot cream and butter to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed (the last quarter of the cream and butter should be folded in by hand). Fold in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese and the remaining salt and pepper; taste for seasoning and serve immediately. If the potatoes are too thick, add more hot cream and butter.

Serve immediately. Serves 6-8.


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