WRITTEN BY Tamberlyn Dobrowski
Peachy hit the “foodie town” of Birmingham for a culinary tour with renowned Southern chefs Frank Stitt and John Lasater and came away with a few must-try recipes for your spring entertaining. Take advantage of all the fresh ingredients available this time of year for your next special meal. Whether you are hosting a brunch, lunch or dinner party, these seasonal Southern recipes featuring Mother Nature’s bounty can be adapted for many menus. The fresh ingredients with a Southern twist are sure to be a hit as you welcome the spring season.
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Strawberry Fields” author=”Chef Frank Stitt, excerpted from Bottega Favorita” image=”http://peachythemagazine.com/peachy/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Strawberry-fields.jpeg” description=”Seasonality is just as important with cocktails as it is with food. In this Bottega creation, we have the flavor of spring in a martini glass, to be made only when aromatic strawberries are at their sweet prime. ” yield=”1 cocktail” ingrt_1=”2 1⁄2 ounces strawberry-infused vodka (see recipe below) ” ingrt_2=”1 1⁄2 ounces lemonade ” ingrt_3=”A strawberry half ” instructions=”Pour the vodka and lemonade into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the strawberry. ” ]
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Strawberry-Infused Vodka” instructions=”Combine a bottle (750 ml) of vodka with 4 pounds stemmed ripe strawberries and let sit in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Strain and sweeten with Simple Syrup (recipe below) if desired. You can use the same technique to infuse vodka with other fruits. ” ]
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Simple Syrup” description=”Keep simple syrup on hand for mixing cocktails or sweetening your tea or fresh-squeezed lemonade. ” yield=”2 cups” ingrt_1=”2 cups sugar ” ingrt_2=”2 cups water ” instructions=”Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring and swirling to dissolve the sugar. Dip a pastry brush in hot water and wipe down the sides of the pan to dissolve any sugar crystals that cling to the sides. Simmer for two minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Simple syrup keeps for weeks in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator. ” ]
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Farm Egg and Kale Tartine” author=”Chef Frank Stitt, Highands Bar and Grill, Bottega and Chez Fonfon” image=”http://peachythemagazine.com/peachy/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ChezFonfon-Photo-FarmEggandKaleTartine.jpg” description=”Tip: When boiling eggs always try to allow them to come to room temperature before putting them into boiling water to allow for more consistent cooking time. Always leave the cooked eggs in the ice water until you are ready to peel them (this will make the shells easier to remove). ” ingrt_1=”For the egg salad:” ingrt_2=”9 soft-boiled farm eggs” ingrt_3=”1 finely minced shallot” ingrt_4=”1 tablespoon chopped chervil” ingrt_5=”1 tablespoon sliced chives” ingrt_6=”1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard” ingrt_7=”1 lemon” ingrt_8=”3 tablespoons aioli” ingrt_9=”Salt and black pepper” ingrt_10=”For the carrot-cider vinaigrette:” ingrt_11=”2 finely minced shallots” ingrt_12=”1 tablespoon chopped thyme” ingrt_13=”1/2 cup diced carrot” ingrt_14=”1/4 cup cider vinegar” ingrt_15=”2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard” ingrt_16=”1 cup extra virgin olive-oil” ingrt_17=”Remaining ingredients:” ingrt_18=”1/2 pound Tuscan kale” ingrt_19=”2 slices of wild-yeast sourdough” ingrt_20=”2 thinly sliced radishes ” instructions=”To prepare the egg salad: Bring a pot of water to a slight simmer and gently place the eggs into the pot, allowing them to cook for 71⁄2 minutes. Immediately transfer the eggs to a container of water and ice to stop them from cooking any further. Coarsely chop the peeled eggs and combine them with remaining ingredients, adding salt and black pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To prepare the vinaigrette: In a large mixing bowl combine the shallot, thyme, carrot, cider vinegar and grain mustard. Allow these ingredients to set for about 10 minutes before slowly whisking in the olive oil, salt and black pepper. Taste for seasoning. To assemble: Coarsely chop the Tuscan kale and toss it with the vinaigrette, adding salt and pepper as needed. Over a medium-hot grill, toast the wild-yeast sourdough. Spread a generous layer of the egg salad over the toast, and then top it with the kale slaw. Cut into four equal portions and garnish with the sliced radishes. ” ]
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Asparagus with Farm Eggs and Ham Hock Vinaigrette” author=”Chef Frank Stitt, excerpted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill” image=”http://peachythemagazine.com/peachy/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/242_Asparagus.jpg” description=”The smoky bits of ham hock add a depth of flavor to this composed salad of spring onions, just-dug potatoes, farm eggs and asparagus. ” yield=”4 as an appetizer ” ingrt_1=”2 meaty smoked ham hocks ” ingrt_2=”3 thyme sprigs, 3 at-leaf parsley sprigs and 1 bay leaf, tied together to make a bouquet garni ” ingrt_3=”2 small spring onions, quartered ” ingrt_4=”Tiny pinch of sugar ” ingrt_5=”Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ” ingrt_6=”2 1⁄2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ” ingrt_7=”4 small creamer potatoes (tiny new potatoes) ” ingrt_8=”16 jumbo asparagus spears, tough ends cut away and bottom half peeled ” ingrt_9=”4 large hard-boiled eggs, organic or “free-range,” peeled and quartered ” ingrt_10=”1 heaping cup young lettuces, such as baby arugula or watercress, trimmed, washed and dried ” ingrt_11=”1⁄4 cup Three-Vinegar Vinaigrette (see recipe below)” instructions=”Put the ham hocks in a deep medium saucepan and add water to cover by 3 to 4 inches. Add the bouquet garni, bring to a simmer, and cook slowly until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours, adding water if necessary to keep the hocks well covered. Remove from the heat and let cool in the broth. Remove the ham hocks and pick the meat from the bones; set aside. Reserve the broth for another purpose, if desired. Place the onions in a small saucepan just large enough to hold them in a single layer and season with the sugar, salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil (or ham fat) and bring to a simmer. Cook until the onions are just tender and slightly glazed, about 10 minutes. Set the pan aside. Prepare a hot grill. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size. Drain, return to the hot pan, and cover to keep warm. While the potatoes cook, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and blot dry on a kitchen towel. Spread the asparagus on a platter and drizzle with the remaining 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the spears on the hot grill, turning to char on all sides, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat the onions over low heat. Transfer the asparagus to serving plates and arrange the hard boiled egg wedges, potatoes, onions and lettuces attractively around them. Add the ham hock meat to the vinaigrette, and drizzle it over everything. ” ]
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Three-Vinegar Vinaigrette” description=”This vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. ” yield=”1 cup” ingrt_1=”1 tablespoon finely minced shallots ” ingrt_2=”1 tablespoon red wine vinegar” ingrt_3=”1 tablespoon sherry vinegar” ingrt_4=”1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar ” ingrt_5=”1 small garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped ” ingrt_6=”1 1⁄2 teaspoons Dijon mustard ” ingrt_7=”1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme” ingrt_8=”1⁄4 teaspoon dried marjoram ” ingrt_9=”1⁄2 teaspoon sugar” ingrt_10=”Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste ” ingrt_11=”3⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil ” instructions=”Combine the shallots, vinegars, garlic, mustard, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let macerate for 10 minutes. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings. ” ]
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Highlands Baked Grits” author=”Chef Frank Stitt, excerpted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill” image=”http://peachythemagazine.com/peachy/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Highlands-Baked-Grits-3.jpg” description=”This signature appetizer is simple Southern with a little finesse. The grits are baked in individual ramekins, then served with a buttery Parmesan sauce, garnished with wild mushrooms and strips of country ham. This is pure comfort, warm and homey with a soothing contrast in textures. Organic stone-ground corn grits are essential—don’t even think about trying this with “quick” grits! The grits can be baked up to 1 hour ahead and set aside at room temperature. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until warmed through.” yield=”8–10 as an appetizer ” ingrt_1=”For the grits:” ingrt_2=”4 cups water, preferably spring water ” ingrt_3=”1 teaspoon kosher salt ” ingrt_4=”1 cup yellow stone-ground grits, preferably organic ” ingrt_5=”2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature ” ingrt_6=”1⁄4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano ” ingrt_7=”Freshly ground white pepper, to taste ” ingrt_8=”1 large egg, beaten ” ingrt_9=”For the sauce:” ingrt_10=”1⁄2 cup white wine ” ingrt_11=”1⁄4 cup sherry vinegar, or to taste ” ingrt_12=”2 shallots, minced ” ingrt_13=”1 bay leaf ” ingrt_14=”1 dried red chile pepper ” ingrt_15=”1 to 2 ounces country ham (trimmings, end pieces, and scraps from the shank are fine) ” ingrt_16=”1 tablespoon heavy cream ” ingrt_17=”8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes ” ingrt_18=”2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano ” ingrt_19=”Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper ” ingrt_20=”Juice of 1⁄2 lemon, or to taste ” ingrt_21=”Hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula ” ingrt_22=”1 tablespoon olive oil ” ingrt_23=”2 thin slices country ham or prosciutto, cut into julienne strips ” ingrt_24=”1⁄2 cup chanterelle, morel, shiitake or oyster mushrooms (cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces) ” ingrt_25=”1 shallot, minced” ingrt_26=”Thyme leaves for garnish ” instructions=”In a large heavy saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add the grits in a slow, steady stream and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and add the butter, Parmigiano and white pepper, stirring until combined. Add the egg and stir to incorporate. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter 8 to 10 ramekins (4- to 6-ounce). Divide the grits among the buttered ramekins, place in a baking pan, and add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about 20 minutes longer, or until the tops are crusty and beginning to brown. Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, combine the wine, vinegar, shallots, bay leaf, chile pepper and ham. Bring to a boil. Cook until only 1 tablespoon of liquid remains. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Whisk in the butter bit by bit, adding each new piece as the previous one is incorporated. Strain the sauce into a saucepan. Add the Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper, lemon juice and hot sauce to taste. Keep warm. Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the julienned ham, mushrooms and shallots and cook until the mushrooms are barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Unmold the grits onto serving plates and turn browned side up. Ladle a little sauce around the grits and top with the mushrooms and ham. Garnish with thyme leaves.” ]
About Chef Frank Stitt
Frank Stitt’s fondness for humble Southern ingredients comes directly from his roots
in rural Alabama. As a college student, he honed his kitchen skills at the now legendary Chez Panisse in San Francisco, where Alice Waters introduced him to Richard Olney, who was working on the Good Cook series for Time-Life Books and needed an assistant. His professional path further evolved as he worked alongside Jeremiah Tower, Stephen Spurrier and Simca Beck.
In 1982, Stitt opened Highlands Bar and Grill and soon after, Bottega (1988), Café Bottega (1990) and Chez Fonfon (2000)— all in Birmingham. In 2004, he published his first cookbook, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, followed by Bottega Favorita in 2009.
Highlands Bar and Grill has been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant each year since 2009. Stitt received the Foundation’s award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2001, and was nominated in 2008 for Outstanding Chef. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance and was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2009, the most distinguished award given to an Alabamian.
In 2011, Stitt was inducted into Esquire magazine’s Restaurant Hall of Fame and to the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.” His restaurants have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun and Southern Living.
Stitt lives in Birmingham with his wife and business partner, Pardis. He has two children, Marie and Weston.
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Hattie B’s Pimento Mac and Cheese” author=”Chef John Lasater, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken ” image=”http://peachythemagazine.com/peachy/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/HattieBsHotChick-Mac-1.jpg” ingrt_1=”For the sauce:” ingrt_2=”1⁄2 gallon milk (2 quarts) ” ingrt_3=”1 1⁄2 teaspoons crushed red pepper ” ingrt_4=”1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt” ingrt_5=”1 1⁄2 teaspoons black pepper” ingrt_6=”For the roux:” ingrt_7=”2 sticks (1⁄2 pound) butter ” ingrt_8=”1⁄2 pound all-purpose flour ” ingrt_9=”To finish the sauce:” ingrt_10=”1 1⁄2 pounds plus additional 1 cup (to top the mac at the end) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese (the sharper the better for pimento cheese) ” ingrt_11=”10 ounce jar diced pimentos, undrained ” ingrt_12=”1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, diced ” ingrt_13=”To prepare the pasta: ” ingrt_14=”1 pound elbow macaroni (uncooked) ” instructions=”To prepare the sauce: Combine all of these ingredients in a 4–5 quart stockpot and bring to a simmer. Do not boil or it may cause the milk to scorch! To prepare the roux: In a small saucepot (1 quart), melt all of the butter completely. Once butter is melted, add the flour all at once and whisk to combine the ingredients into a smooth mixture. Simmer roux for 5 minutes to make sure all of the raw flour is cooked out. Once it has simmered for 5 minutes, add all of the roux into the simmering milk mixture. Make sure the milk mixture is at a simmer so the roux makes an immediate bond. Whisk very well until the sauce becomes thick. Simmer mixture for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. To finish the sauce: Add the diced pimentos along with 1 1⁄2 pounds of cheese and butter. Melt these ingredients completely and turn flame off at this point and give it a really good whisk until melted. Cool sauce completely in a storage container. To prepare the pasta: Cook in salted boiling water until al dente (about 7 to 8 minutes for most pasta). Strain when finished. Next, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cooled cheese sauce in a mixing bowl along with the pasta (pasta doesn’t need to be cooled). Mix until completely combined. Scrape the mixture out of the bowl with a rubber spatula into a 10 x 12 baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Once the timer goes off, remove mac and give the whole pan a good stir with the rubber spatula, smoothing everything out. Next, top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Place the mac back in the oven, uncovered, for no more than 5 minutes—just to brown the cheese. Serve family-style!” ]
[schema type=”recipe” name=”Black-Eyed Pea Salad” author=”Chef John Lasater, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken ” image=”http://peachythemagazine.com/peachy/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Black-Eyed-Pea-Salad-5.jpg” description=”This side dish pairs well with fried chicken, pork, fish or steak, so it’s the perfect dish for a family reunion or picnic in the spring or summertime. ” ingrt_1=”For the pepper vinaigrette: ” ingrt_2=”1⁄4 cup champagne vinegar ” ingrt_3=”1⁄4 cup malt vinegar ” ingrt_4=”1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil ” ingrt_5=”1⁄2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced ” ingrt_6=”1⁄2 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped ” ingrt_7=”1 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper ” ingrt_8=”1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste” ingrt_9=”1 red bell pepper, small dice ” ingrt_10=”1 green bell pepper, small dice ” ingrt_11=”1 yellow bell pepper, small dice ” ingrt_12=”2 scallions, finely sliced” ingrt_13=”1⁄2 teaspoon fresh roasted garlic, minced” ingrt_14=”For the black-eyed peas: ” ingrt_15=”2 cups dried black-eyed peas ” ingrt_16=”4 strips of bacon ” ingrt_17=”6 cups chicken or vegetable stock ” instructions=”For the pepper vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk together the vinegars, olive oil, thyme, parsley, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, all the bell peppers, scallions and garlic. (Let this vinaigrette sit overnight). For the black-eyed peas: In a large pot, cover the peas with enough water to cover by about 3 to 4 inches. You should do this the same time you make the vinaigrette because they have to soak overnight. Drain peas in a colander and set aside. Sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. In a large pot over medium high heat, render the bacon. Do not dice bacon. Leave it whole so it is easy to remove when finished cooking (the peas will have good bacon flavor). Once bacon is rendered, add all the stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the peas and cook on low heat for about 25 minutes. The peas should be tender but not mushy. Strain the peas and remove the strips of bacon. While the peas are hot, toss in the vinaigrette. Let it cool down and enjoy this way, or refrigerate overnight and enjoy!” ]
About Chef John Lasater
John Lasater, executive chef of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, is a native of Tennessee, and graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York before joining the team at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in 2012, he worked in the kitchens at the Capitol Grille in the Hermitage Hotel, Flyte World Dining & Wine and also at Porter Road Butcher in Nashville. Lasater helped create the Hattie B’s hot blend they use today, along with developing recipes for their signature side dishes and desserts. In spring 2014, Lasater was named an Eater “Young Gun” nominee, and in January 2015, he was named to Forbes “30 Under 30” list.