B. Smith’s Swamp Thang with Deep Fried Julienne Vegetables

The Late Barbara Smith (1949-2020), was a famed fashion model and was the first African American woman to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine. She went on to build an empire that included television shows, restaurants, her own furniture line (another first for an African American woman), and other lifestyle products from rugs to kitchenware. Called “one of the most formidable rivals of Martha Stewart” by The Wall Street Journal, Barbara Smith not only shattered glass ceilings, she also brought America a casual, elegant, easy style that is all her own. This recipe is from “B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style”, published in 2009. This cookbook focuses solely on the food – no table settings, no party plans – and gives readers more than 200 recipes and colourful tales from her incomparable career. Readers and home cooks alike will find a number of mouthwatering dishes based on Southern cuisine. One of her most popular dishes, The Swamp Thang ,was created at her Union Station restaurant in Washington D.C. The list of ingredients include shrimp, scallops, crawfish that are combined in a creamy light Dijon mustard sauce and napped over collard greens. The dish is finally dressed with deep fried julienne vegetables.
I would order this signature dish every time I visited her establishments in both D.C. and New York. And even though it always tasted slightly different every time I had it, I was never disappointed. The dish is Southern comfort food that has been elevated. The food always reflects the soul of the person who cooks it. And as a cook, I get the feeling that the dish was spontaneously created by whatever items were left in the pantry. It has a feel of a kitchen sink kind of recipe, which in my opinion are the best kind, because it leaves so much room for interpretation and the imagination of the cook. So as one who like to experiment, I added my own spin to the dish, by searing the scallops rather than adding them to the mustard sauce. It makes the dish all the more visually appealing.
Adapted from
“B. Smith Cooks Southern Style”
2009
Serves 6 to 8 Ingredients: For the Seafood Mustard Sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided               
1 cup white onion, finely
1 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper                  
1/2 cup finely diced celery          
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound medium scallops 
1 cup white wine                      
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves        
1 bay leaf                                  
2 cups fish stock                        
1 tablespoon lemon juice              
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce           
1 cup heavy cream                     
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 pound crawfish tails, peeled
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Cooked Collard Greens,for serving
Deep-Fried Julienne Vegetables, for garnish (Recipe Follows)
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Directions: In a medium Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, until vegetables are soft and the onion is transparent. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and return to a boil. Stir in the heavy cream, mustard and the Old Bay Seasoning. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the shrimp and crawfish tails. Cook for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and discard. For the Scallops: Pat the scallops dry with paper towels. Season generously all over with salt and pepper. In a separate skillet heat the 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Place the scallops in the skillet in a single layer, spaced about an inch apart. The first scallop should sizzle on contact. If it doesn’t, wait a few seconds to let the pan heat before adding the rest. Do not crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Cook the scallops undisturbed for 2 minutes. If the scallop doesn’t release easily from the pan, let it cook for another few seconds until it does. Flip the scallops over. Cook the scallops on the second side undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes more. Both sides of the scallop should be seared golden-brown and the sides should look opaque all the way through. The scallops should feel firm to the touch, but still slightly soft, like well-set Jell-O; do not overcook or the scallops become tough and chewy. To serve, place a helping of collard greens to the center of a plate. Nap the seafood mustard sauce over the collard greens. Garnish with the deep-fried julienne vegetables. To finish the dish, add the seared scallops and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy this classic signature dish from B. Smith. For the Deep-Fried Julienne Vegetables: Ingredients:
1 cup 1/4-inch julienne zucchini            
1 cup 1/4-inch julienne yellow squash       
1 cup 1/4-inch julienne carrot              
1 cup 1/5-inch julienne sweet potato        
1 small julienne shallot
1 cup whole milk    
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Directions: Add the vegetables an milk to a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 200 o F. In a deep Dutch oven or caste iron skillet, add enough oil to reach a depth of 1 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat to 350 o F. In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt and pepper. Using a colander, drain the vegetables and toss them into the seasoned flour. Transfer the vegetables to a large sieve and shake off the excess flour. Working batch, deep fry large handfuls of the vegetables in the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using a wire spyder or skimmer, or slotted spoon, remove the vegetable from the oil and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
Photo Credit: Tangie Holifield, 2020
Photo Credit: Tangie Holifield, 2020
Cook’s Notes: Shrimp or even chicken broth will  work well in this recipe. If you cannot find fresh crawfish, you can substitute frozen crawfish tail, just make sure that you defrost them before using. Remove the side muscles from the scallops if needed. The side muscle is a little tag of muscle tissue on the side of the scallop that secures it to the shell and may still be on the scallops. It will feel a bit tough and its fibers run opposite the rest of the scallop. Just pinch it with your thumb and first finger and pull it away. If you miss one, don’t worry; they’re a little tough to chew, but are safe to eat. Cook the scallops as the last thing you do before serving dinner. Prepare everything else so that the scallops can be served immediately after cooking, while they are at their best.

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you!


Spiced Roast Chicken & Collard Greens with Maple Butter & Thyme

 

DSC01808.JPG

Chicken quarter, the leg and thigh portions, just happen to be the perfect portion for two—which features all the best parts of the bird. This dish highlights succulent dark meat with a spice rub of sweet paprika, ground coriander, garlic powder and  a hint of crushed red pepper flakes, for a mild kick. To a ensure tasty, crispy-skinned meat,  browning the chicken skin on the stovetop in a cast-iron skillet will give you the best results  before roasting it in the oven. The chicken was served over a bed of stewed collard greens and onion and spooning warm, homemade maple butter on top—a sweet, rich mix of melted butter, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar.

I made this dish a second time, but instead of drizzling the chicken with maple butter, I switched it up a bit and used my Grand’s recipe for White Barbecue Sauce, making it a twist of classic southern barbecue chicken.

You see, White Barbecue  Sauce is a regional favorite found in the foot hills of Appalachian Mountains of Northern Alabama. Pit master, Bob Gibson is credited with concocting white sauce back in 1925. This tangy, mayonnaise-based condiment was traditionally used to dress chicken. But today, just about every BBQ joint in the area has  a white barbecue sauce on their menu,  and use it on their meats, and place it on their tables. You can eat it with everything from french fries to bread to chicken and ribs. This unique, tangy flavor is the perfect compliment to just about everything.

To make a White Barbecue Sauce you only need  four ingredients: mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and coarsely ground pepper. But my Grand’s recipe called for a little buttermilk and just a touch of heavy cream, to give it a dressing like consistency.

To be perfectly honest, being a Southern girl, I preferred my Grand’s White Barbecue Sauce…….

Enjoy!

Adapted from Blue Apron, 2015

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 Chicken leg and thigh quarters
1 Yellow Onion
½ bunch collard greens
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2 Teaspoons Spice Blend (Garlic Powder, Smoked Sweet Paprika, Ground Coriander and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Prepare the ingredients:
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Remove and discard the collard green stems; roughly chop the leaves. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

For the Chicken:
Line a sheet pan with foil. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and as much of the spice blend  to taste.Sprinkle the skinless side with half the thyme. In a medium pan , heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken, skin side down. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until the skin is browned and crispy. Turn off the heat. Transfer the browned chicken, skin side up, to the prepared sheet pan, leaving any browned bits  in the pan on the stovetop.

Place the browned chicken in the oven and roast 24 to 26 minutes, or until cooked through.Remove from the oven.

For the Collard Greens:
While the chicken roasts, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved brown bits and heat on medium until shimmering. Add the onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the collard greens and ⅓ cup of water.  Cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, 18 to 20 minutes, or until the collard greens are wilted and very tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside in a warm place. Rinse and wipe out the pan.

For the Maple Syrup Butter:
Make the make the maple syrup butter, just before serving, heat the pan used to cook the collard greens on medium until hot. Add the butter, maple syrup and vinegar;season with salt and pepper. Cook, occasionally swirling the pan, 1 to 2 minutes, or until bubbling and thoroughly combined.Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve , transfer the roasted chicken to the serving dish of cooked collard greens. Top with the maple butter. Garnish with the remaining thyme. Enjoy!

 

 

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Orzo with Sauteed Collard Greens

Recipe Adapted from
Nature’s Greens, W. P. Rawl & Sons, Inc.

 

Photo Credit: Marti, 2015

Collard greens have been cooked and used for centuries. The Southern style of cooking of greens came with the arrival of African slaves to the southern colonies and the need to satisfy their hunger and provide food for their families. As the slave diet began to evolve and spread when slaves entered the plantation houses as cooks, their African dishes, using the foods available in the region in which they lived in, began to evolve into present-day Southern cooking, becoming a huge part of the Southern American culinary tradition known as “soul food”.

This recipe uses collard greens in a unique way, borrowing for the Italian culture with the use of orzo, tomatoes and dried Italian herbs, which comes together for a quick and easy meal that can be served family style for a hungry crowd, that is both healthy and tasty at the same time.

Enjoy!

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked orzo
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 pound collard greens, washed and chopped *
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add orzo and return to boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the pasta has thoroughly cooked, about 6 to 9 minutes. Drain pasta and return to the pot, add the Italian herbs and gently toss to mix. Cover and set aside.

In another large stock pot, heat on medium and  add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and tomatoes and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the garlic and tomatoes and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoons of olive oil to the same stock pot. Add the collard greens and toss to coat. Saute the greens for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the orzo, garlic, tomatoes and lemon juice. Stir and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a rustic crusty bread, if desired.

Cook’s Notes:
* If fresh collard green are not available, an excellent alternative substitute are the commercially available “Natures Green Collard Greens” which can be found in the produce section of most local supermarkets and grocery stores.

For a variation, you can add sweet Italian sausage to this dish. Pinch little pieces of the sausage from the casing and roll them into 1-inch balls. Brown them in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove the  sausage meatballs out of skillet and set aside.  Following the recipe, add the sausage to the stock pot when adding the orzo, tomatoes, collard greens and lemon juice. Stir to combine and proceed with the recipe.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor