For Father's Day, I'm off to the races with my dad and a bunch of our buddies. My dad's a great guy who loves no fuss classic recipes, so this philosophy will inspire the menu. Usually I would have him pack his mini grill for some picnic grilling, but since this is a Father's Day celebration I don't want him to have to lift a finger. I'll make picnic food ahead of time so I can sit back, relax, and watch the cars race by. Sandwiches are the quintessential picnic food and I'll be making two kinds. A French style tuna sandwich called pan bagnat - that only gets better if assembled the night before - will pair perfectly with chilled white wine. Buffalo chicken sandwiches with a creamy blue cheese dressing and crisp lettuce will be the beer friendly sandwich option. To get these tasty recipes all you have to do is

Pan Bagnat
From Bon Appetit magazine

1 1-pound loaf unsliced French bread, about 14 inches long
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
2 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, undrained
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted assorted brine-cured olives
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  1. Slice bread in half lengthwise. Using hands, remove interior of loaf, leaving 3/4-inch shell. Brush interior of both halves with olive oil and line with basil leaves in single layer.
  2. Combine undrained tuna, tomatoes, olives, onion, and lemon juice in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon salad evenly into bottom bread shell. Cover with top half and wrap tightly with plastic.
  4. Place in shallow baking pan; top with another baking pan and weight with heavy cans. Let stand 20 minutes.
  5. Unwrap pan bagnat and cut into 1 1/2-inch slices. Place on platter, garnish with basil sprigs, and serve.

Serves 4.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
From Rachael Ray

4 pieces, 6 ounces each, boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
extra-virgin olive oil
Sauce for chicken:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup, 4 ounces, cayenne pepper sauce, preferred brand Frank's Red Hot
Bib or leaf lettuce leaves
4 crusty rolls, split
2 cups sour cream
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled
Small red onion, thinly sliced

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Drizzle breast with a little extra virgin olive oil to coat. Pan grill chicken breasts 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Heat a metal or oven safe glass bowl over low heat and melt butter in the bowl. Add hot sauce to the butter and combine.
  4. When the chicken breasts are done, remove from pan and add to the bowl and coat evenly with hot sauce mixture.
  5. Place chicken breasts on bun bottoms and top with crisp lettuce and red onion.
  6. Combine sour cream, scallions and blue cheese and slather bun tops with blue cheese sour cream. Affix bun tops on sandwiches and serve with remaining sauce for dipping.

Serves 4.

Note: The image at right is of the chicken before being placed in a bun.