Southern-inspired cuisine for the sultry days of summer

Southern-inspired cuisine for the sultry days of summer

July 20, 2018


Travel south for the summer with these Cajun dishes prepared by Chef John Moultrie of Bistro on the Greens restaurant in LaPorte.

Styling by Emily Anstadt

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
3 medium-sized green tomatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil

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Travel south for the summer with these Cajun dishes prepared by Chef John Moultrie of Bistro on the Greens restaurant in LaPorte.

Styling by Emily Anstadt

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
3 medium-sized green tomatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.

Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a medium-sized bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs, salt and pepper on another plate.

Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in bread crumb mixture to completely coat.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) over medium heat. Place tomatoes in skillet in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your pan. Do not crowd the tomatoes—they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

Serve with buttermilk dipping sauce (recipe below).

Buttermilk Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons drained tiny capers, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 scallion, very thinly sliced (3 inches of green left on)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Set aside, covered, in the refrigerator.

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Sukich
Fried Green Tomatoes
Photo Credit: Gabrielle Sukich
Fried Green Tomatoes

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.

Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a medium-sized bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs, salt and pepper on another plate.

Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in bread crumb mixture to completely coat.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) over medium heat. Place tomatoes in skillet in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your pan. Do not crowd the tomatoes—they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

Serve with buttermilk dipping sauce (recipe below).

Buttermilk Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons drained tiny capers, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 scallion, very thinly sliced (3 inches of green left on)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Set aside, covered, in the refrigerator.

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Sukich
Fried Catfish

FRIED CATFISH
1 quart peanut oil
1 cup stone-ground fine cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 (7 to 9-ounce) U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets, rinsed and thoroughly patted dry
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

Heat the peanut oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature.

Whisk the cornmeal and flour together in a shallow dish.

Combine the seafood seasoning, kosher salt, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. Season the catfish fillets evenly on both sides with the spice mixture.

Pour the buttermilk into another shallow dish. Dip each fillet into the buttermilk, flip once to coat both sides, hold over the pan and allow the excess to drip off.

Coat both sides of the fillets in the cornmeal mixture. Set the coated fillets on a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Sukich
Fried Catfish

FRIED CATFISH
1 quart peanut oil
1 cup stone-ground fine cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 (7 to 9-ounce) U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets, rinsed and thoroughly patted dry
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

Heat the peanut oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature.

Whisk the cornmeal and flour together in a shallow dish.

Combine the seafood seasoning, kosher salt, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. Season the catfish fillets evenly on both sides with the spice mixture.

Pour the buttermilk into another shallow dish. Dip each fillet into the buttermilk, flip once to coat both sides, hold over the pan and allow the excess to drip off.

Coat both sides of the fillets in the cornmeal mixture. Set the coated fillets on a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Gently add the fillets, two at a time, to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the fried fillets to a cooling rack set over a newspaper-lined half sheet pan.

Repeat method with remaining fillets. Arrange the catfish on a serving platter and serve immediately.

CLASSIC BREAD PUDDING WITH BOURBON SAUCE
6 cups diced sourdough bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla bean extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil a teakettle full of water.

Drizzle bread with butter and put bread into baking dish.

Combine milk, cream and spices in medium pot. Heat to just scalding.

Combine eggs, yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla in large bowl.

Pour all liquid over bread to cover.

Press bread down with hands to let bread absorb custard. Let sit for 15-30 minutes.

Put baking dish in a larger roasting pan. Create water bath.

Bake until custard is set but slightly quivering, about 35-40 minutes.

Remove baking dish from roasting pan and cool slightly.

Drizzle with bourbon sauce (recipe below).

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Sukich
Classic Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
Photo Credit: Gabrielle Sukich
Classic Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

CLASSIC BREAD PUDDING WITH BOURBON SAUCE
6 cups diced sourdough bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla bean extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil a teakettle full of water.

Drizzle bread with butter and put bread into baking dish.

Combine milk, cream and spices in medium pot. Heat to just scalding.

Combine eggs, yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla in large bowl.

Pour all liquid over bread to cover.

Press bread down with hands to let bread absorb custard. Let sit for 15-30 minutes.

Put baking dish in a larger roasting pan. Create water bath.

Bake until custard is set but slightly quivering, about 35-40 minutes.

Remove baking dish from roasting pan and cool slightly.

Drizzle with bourbon sauce (recipe below).

Bourbon Sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup whiskey
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Create slurry with cornstarch and whiskey.

Combine cream, butter, vanilla, sugar and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Heat until bubbles form around edge of mixture.

Re-stir slurry and add to cream mixture. Heat until mixture boils.