In Italy, fathers are honored during the Feast of Saint Joseph, which falls on March 19th every year. Chances are, if you live here in Atlanta, Father’s Day was the last thing on your mind in the first days of spring. But fear not! Though the official feast day has passed, the spirit and principles of the Italian holiday will make this year’s Father’s Day on June 18th, the best one yet.
In Italy, “Festa del Papà” is associated strongly with San Giuseppe (or Saint Joseph, or San José, depending on where you’re from). This is a day that is filled with traditional Italian spreads with specially crafted breads and cookies made just for the occasion. The family gets together to show their gratitude to their father figure with gifts and even some favors they are saving up for this special day! Whether you celebrate your dad or just a day at the grill with your friends, don’t forget to incorporate the traditional foods for San Giuseppe…
What to Eat
Grilled Fava Beans
As the patron saint of Sicily, San Giuseppe was the recipient of a lot of prayers for rain during a massive drought in the Middle Ages. When the rain came, fava beans were the crop that grew and prevented famine from destroying the population. As the story goes, a feast was prepared in San Giuseppe’s honor, which, as you might guess, featured an abundance of this nutty member of the legume family. Ever since, fava beans have been the go-to crop when honoring Saint Joseph. To keep in the Atlanta spirit this Father’s Day, toss them on the grill with this recipe from Martha Stewart. They make a great appetizer or side for your burgers, brats, or whatever you normally like to have on your menu for the weekend.
Anything with lots of breadcrumbs is appropriate for celebrating San Giuseppe. Reminiscent of sawdust, this ingredient is a nod to his occupation as a carpenter. They can make an infinite number of recipes tastier (and crunchier!). Bon Appetit has an article appropriately titled, “21 Recipes With Lots of Breadcrumbs Because Crispy Bits Are the Best,” which makes one question why we ever eat anything without added breadcrumbs. We particularly like this recipe for Linguine with Green Olive Sauce and Zesty Breadcrumbs, though there are plenty of other delicious pasta dishes (including Dad-approved mac and cheese) to choose from. And, should the weather turn foul and prevent Father’s Day grilling, there are few father-figures who don’t appreciate a good, breadcrumb-laden meatloaf, like this classic-style recipe from Good Eats.
You can honor San Giuseppe with our “sicilia,” a pan-roasted red snapper (with the all-important caper breadcrumbs) and an eggplant stew.
Traditional Father’s Day treats vary from region to region. In northern Italy, frittelle are served after the family meal. (Put this recipe from Christina’s Cucina in your back pocket, because frittelle is also the traditional Christmas Eve doughnut.) In Rome, bigné di San Giuseppe (fried cream puffs) mark the occasion. We found this delicious recipe at Food52. In Napoli, zeppole di San Giuseppe is the celebratory dessert. Whatever region of Italy or Georgia you are in, one thing is for sure, Father’s Day dessert is all about delicious, fried dough pastries. (And to spend time with Dad. But he’ll have a better time if he enjoys some delicious, fried dough!) For a Father’s Day dessert in the southern Italian style, we love our bombolini. These ricotta doughnuts served with whipped cream and honey show up at several Italian celebrations throughout the year. For the full recipe that you can make at home, we included it at the bottom of our Mother’s Day post. This recipe requires a fryer. Rest assured, if your household is without a fryer, you can join us in our dining room any evening, but especially on Father’s Day, to try them!
Whoever you celebrate with, we hope your Father’s Day weekend is full of good food and the people you best like to share it with! And as always, we’d love to share the holiday with you.
Buona Festa del Papà!
For those of you looking to dine out for an Italian experience on Father’s Day, remember to make your reservation early while there’s still space by clicking here!
Don’t miss il Giallo Osteria & Bar‘s Sous Chef Parker Jorgensen‘s upcoming Summer Grilling Class on June 26th at The Cook’s Warehouse in Midtown. It’s part of the Atlanta Community Food Bank‘s #SimpleAbundance series.
Parker, a Zagat “30 Under 30” star, will be teaching the class how to make Grilled Artichokes with mint pesto and ricotta salata, Smoked Trout Bruschetta, Grilled Garlic & Rosemary Pork Ribs and Grilled Peach Napoleon with pecan butter cookie. Check out the link by clicking here and sign up today before the class sells out!
Every Friday – Awesome Buco Friday – Chef Jamie simmers just 10 Osso Buco in fresh herbs and spices for hours and serves them with saffron risotto. These melt in your mouth Osso Buco are available on a first come, first serve basis.