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The New Southern Way

The New Southern Way

There are hundreds of roads winding through the American South. Each of them leads in a different culinary direction. 

In Mississippi, you’ll find hot tamales in the Delta, pimento cheese at a tailgate party in Oxford, and fried catfish up and down the state. There’s gumbo and po’boys in Louisiana. Smoking, fragrant BBQ pits in North Carolina and Texas. Peach pie and boiled peanuts in Georgia. Shrimp and grits and oysters in South Carolina. And biscuits and fried chicken in every corner of the region. 

But for all the foods for which the South is known, new twists are being added daily. Welcome to the New South. Where tradition isn’t so much being discarded as it is being updated and refined. 

Call it a modern update. As transplants from other regions arrive in the South and native chefs travel and acquire influences from other regions, the menu items that emerge are a little lighter and a lot more global. 

The perfect example? Black-Eyed Pea Hummus. A recipe featured in Matt Moore’s Southern Living “A Southern Gentleman’s Cookbook”, Black-Eyed Pea Hummus is nothing that would appear in any restaurant or kitchen in the South twenty years ago. But it’s the embodiment of what’s taking place today. A classic Southern ingredient—black-eyed peas—takes on global flavors (hummus) in a dish that’s appealing to healthy diners (veggies and dip.) 

That’s the sort of inspiration that can be applied in foodservice operations across all levels and price points. Take a classic Southern favorite and imagine what a 2019 version would look like. Maybe the deviled eggs found at every church potluck get updated with cumin and jalapenos. The grits found at backroads diners get a new feel from mascarpone and basil. Whether it’s preparing fried chicken in an air fryer or trading out the butter in mashed sweet potatoes for coconut oil, the slightest of changes can make customers feel like their evolving desires are being met. 

Whether it’s pickled vegetables, seafood, greens, or baskets of warm, buttery biscuits, you’ll find the building blocks from your next Southern menu feature by talking to an SGC sales representative. (Insert product breakout box here.) 

Black-eyed Pea Hummus 

1(15.8 oz) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (SGC skew #)

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 TBS. fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. ground cumin

2 TBS. extra virgin olive oil (SGC skew #)

2 TBS. tahini 

Garnish: smoked paprika

  1. Process first 5 ingredients and 1 TBS. oil in food processor until smooth and blended.
  2. Add tahini and 1 TBS. water, process till blended, adding more water, 1 tsp. at a time until desired consistency.
  3. Spoon into small serving bowl. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve with fresh cut vegetables and pita bread. 

*Recipe from Matt Moore’s A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen.