Though an internationally traveled writer and photographer, Charleston-based culinary consultant Brys Stephens was born in Birmingham, Ala., and raised on traditional Southern fare.

From corn to collards, sweet potatoes to peaches, he showcases 13 of the beloved fruits and vegetables of his boyhood through a lens focused by his years abroad.

They star in some 100 recipes, reinterpreted in techniques from French, Mediterranean, Asian and Latin cuisines.

He takes okra to Greece, pairing it with feta as well as the every familiar coupling with tomatoes; gives Hoppin' John a summery Caribbean twist by infusing it with coconut milk; adds figs to a tapenade remembered from Paris.

Cooking like this, says Stephens, "opens the door for folks to play in the kitchen and see the range these foods we're familiar with have." $21.99. Fair Winds Press.

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Purple Hull Pea Tabouleh

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tabouleh, a classic Middle Eastern salad boldly flavored with parsley, goes well with field peas. Matched with the bulgur and the tart lemony dressing, the peas make this salad a protein-filled and refreshing meal in itself.


4 cups (945ml) water

1 cup (225g) bulgur

1?2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

4 cups (680g) cooked field peas

2 cups (270g) diced cucumber

2 cups (360g) diced tomatoes

2 cups (120g) chopped fresh parsley

1?4 cup (100g) chopped fresh mint

1?2 cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice

3?4 cup (175ml) olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Red pepper flakes


Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan, stir in the bulgur and the teaspoon salt, and simmer gently, 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender. Drain, rinse the bulgur with cold water, and set aside until completely drained, stirring occasionally to help this process along. In a large bowl, combine the drained bulgur, field peas, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil, and season to taste with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Chill the salad for at least 2 hours for best flavor.