If there is one criticism of Hoppin' John, the native dish of field peas and rice enjoyed on New Year's Day, it's usually that it is on the dry side. Pot likker from the collard greens, pork jus or hot sauce can fix that.
Still, not everyone is crazy about Hoppin' John for that reason. So how else can they get a healthy serving of good luck for 2012?
John Martin Taylor, aka "Hoppin' John," may have a solution for them, and it's perfect any time of year (in case you need a refill of good luck). The recipe is found in his 1995 "The New Southern Cook" cookbook. Taylor formerly lived in Charleston and wrote a number of authoritative cookbooks on Lowcountry cuisine.
Hoppin' John Salad
Serves 8 to 10
2 cups cooked and drained small Southern beans such as black-eyed peas
3 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup chopped red onion, about 1/2 a medium onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh herbs such as parsley, mint and chervil
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of about 2 lemons to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Toss the beans, rice, onion, celery and chile together in a large mixing bowl. Place the herbs and garlic clove on a cutting board and sprinkle with the salt. Chop very finely. You should have 3 or 4 tablespoons of garlic-herb mixture. Add to the beans and rice and toss. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the olive oil and whisk together, then pour over the salad, tossing well. Correct the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Holiday greetings and photos of food came last week from a longtime reader and contributor to this column, Ron Pollitt of Kiawah Island. Ron and his wife, Pam Pollitt, love to cook together and have shared many nice family recipes with us over the years.
Two celebratory foods at their house this season were Panko Fried Oysters and Black Raspberry Bars. I already can vouch for the panko oysters, because I made them right away with a few oysters still on hand from a Christmas Eve stew. Loved the crispy crunch of the panko!
Panko Fried Oysters
1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided (unless skillet is large enough to accommodate all oysters)
16 ounces shucked select oysters
1 cup all-purpose flour seasoned with kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 to 2 eggs, whisked
Heat large skillet on medium-high heat and add 1/2 or all of butter. Remove oysters from liquor and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip oysters in egg wash, then dredge in panko and add to skillet. Cover skillet and fry for 2 minutes on one side until golden brown and then turn and fry for 2 more minutes until golden brown. Remove and serve with cocktail sauce below or other preferred sauce.
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons horseradish sauce or to taste
Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce to taste
Mix all ingredients well. Serve with oysters.
Black Raspberry Bars
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar (or sugar in the raw)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup shortening, such as Crisco
1 (18-ounce) jar black raspberry preserves
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Cut in the shortening until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Stir in the egg. Press about half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the preserves over the crust, then sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture. Grate nutmeg over the crumb mixture. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven until lightly toasted. Do not overcook.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack, dust with powdered sugar, then cut into squares.
Who's got the recipe?
We are getting some fresh recipe requests (see below), but please keep them coming. If there's any recipe you've lost, have memories of or are just wondering about, let us know. Email Food Editor Teresa Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-4886.
--From Donna Maria LaBrasca of Charleston: "Your readers will have to go way back in the archives for this one. It's a recipe that was published in The Post and Courier somewhere between the late '70s to mid-'80s. I do remember the title, though: Sugar-Free Fruit Cookies.
"It's a unique little cookie that is sweetened only by the chopped, dried fruit and chopped nuts that are in it. It resembled a thumbprint jam cookie, both in size and in its crumbly texture. In addition to the usual butter and flour, there was also sesame seed in the cookie, which added to the delightfully crumbly, slightly crunchy result. ... It's the perfect treat to have with hot tea, or when you want a cookie that isn't overly sweet."
--Laura De La Maza of Mount Pleasant says her family really enjoyed these treats. "I am looking for a Granola Ball recipe that was published in The News and Courier in the early '90s. I used to make these for my family and would love to have the recipe if you can locate it. The ingredients I can recall are oats, honey, dates, wheat germ and peanut butter."
Reach Food Editor Teresa Taylor at email@example.com, 937-4886 or 134 Columbus St., Charleston, SC 29403.