“Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes”

“This book is my homage to the cuisine of my family,” chef Todd Richards writes in his autobiographical collection of essays and recipes. “These are the ingredients of my people. This is my sermon about my Soul food.”

Bringing accolades for his stints at Atlanta’s Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, James Beard nominations, and, of course, his prowess at Southern cooking, Richards seasons the pot with a powerful bouquet of flavors as he pays his heritage forward. Collards cooked with ham hocks are accented with piquant pickled collard stems. Blueberries are found in fried pies; strawberries are plated with champagne aspic, whipped cream and honey. Grilled peaches pair with radishes on toast spread with pimiento cheese. Sweet potatoes are layered with cauliflower and crab in a lush gratin.

“Soul food,” Richards tells us, “is the original cuisine of the South, born from an involuntary collision of cultures.” Glory in it, on every picture and page.

Published by Oxmoor House. $35.

Reach Marion Sullivan at mbscooks@gmail.com.

Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs are a version of deviled eggs. Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise results in a slightly tangier, lighter rendition. Angel Egg filling is versatile as a sauce that pairs well with dishes such as lamb and vegetables. You can chop the egg whites to add to any leftover chicken or smoked turkey to make a delicious chicken or turkey salad.

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 cups (32 ounces) water

2 tablespoons plus 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 celery stalk, peeled and halved crosswise

1 tablespoon white vinegar

4 large eggs

1⁄4 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon aged red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon hot sauce

6 chives, thinly sliced

1⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Paprika (optional)

Fresh micro herbs (optional)

Directions

1. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

2. Bring 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil in a deep stockpot over medium heat. Add the celery, and cook 2 minutes. Transfer the celery to the ice bath using a slotted spoon. Remove and dry on paper towels.

3. Add the white vinegar to the stockpot, and return to a boil.

4. Carefully place the eggs in a single layer in the pot, and cook 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to the ice bath using a slotted spoon. Let stand until cool, about 20 minutes. Drain.

5. Tap the eggs on the counter until cracks form; peel. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove the yolks. Mash together the yolks, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, and hot sauce with a fork until smooth. Dice the celery, and fold into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the chives, black pepper, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt.

6. Spoon the egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Garnish with paprika and micro herbs, if desired.