Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking

23 07 2010

Boy, do I miss Southern cooking. I find myself in the kitchen a lot more these days, whipping up rich comfort foods, throwing a pat of butter (or two) in every recipe (and then forcing myself to take an extra long walk to ward off those hips), but it’s worth it.

I’m always looking for great cookbooks. The cookbooks you want to sit down with and read cover to cover, and then try out every single recipe.

Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking by John Martin Taylor is just such a cookbook. Hoppin’ John has got plenty of experience in cooking Southern foods, and even has been a featured writer for Gourmet magazine. Beyond recipes, he gives stories, background information, illustrations — everything you need to practically take you down into the heart of South Carolina. The subtitle says it all — Recipes & Ruminations from Charleston and the Carolina Coastal Plain.

Open it up to the table of contents and you’ll know you have a treasure. Beyond the classic cookbook chapters on meat, vegetables, breads and desserts, Hoppin’ John’s is filled with two chapters on the Lowcountry — About and “Toward a Lowcountry Kitchen.” You’ll move on to Snacks and Starters, Fish, Shellfish, Game, Poultry, Beverages, and even chapters on Grits & Rice, as well as a distinctly Lowcountry chapter on Condiments: Pickles, Relishes, Preserves and Sauces.

Since I’m in a squash mode lately, and there are several delicious squash recipes (I tried out the Fried Squash Blossoms last night and they were a hit with the husband!), I thought I’d share one for Minted Squash Casserole here with you.

Minted Squash Casserole

{Hoppin’ John says in the opening notes that many cooks boil the squash prior to putting it in the casserole, but he does not. You’ll need one pound of tender, young summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices.}

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves in a food processor and chop finely. Add 1 large egg and 2/3 cup milk and blend.

In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 3 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 to 3 cups), season with salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking over medium heat until they are evenly heated through and have just become translucent.

Line the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish with a single layer of the squash. Cover the squash with a layer of the onions and a layer of bread crumbs. Drizzle some of the egg and milk mixture over the layer, then continue making similar layers to use all the ingredients, ending with a sprinkle of bread crumbs. Bake for 45 minutes.

But the rest of the book is just as much of a treasure. I wish I could just share every single page and every single recipe with y’all. Hunt down a copy and get to celebrating the Lowcountry with Hoppin’ John!

Map from the book of John's Lowcountry

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24 07 2010
Tweets that mention Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking « Sweet Iced Tea -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DeeAnn Parks, Sweet Iced Tea. Sweet Iced Tea said: Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking: http://wp.me/peX1z-Qa […]

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