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Feb 1, 2008 05:05 AM

Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: First Courses

February 2008 Cookbook of the Month, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table.

Please post your full-length reviews of first course recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

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  1. Warm Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese and Corn Bread Crostini, p. 126.

    I made this last weekend, and both my husband and I liked it. I didn't have slab bacon to make the lardons, so just used Applewood Smoked bacon. I used Boucheron for the goat cheese because that is what I had on hand, but it didn't melt as nicely as I think soft fresh goat cheese would.

    One odd thing is that the recipe calls for toasted pecans, but in both photos of the dish, the nuts are walnuts, and I think I might actually prefer walnuts here for some reason, though pecans are obviously a more Southern choice. Also, the way the corn bread is shown, the "planks" don't look like 4 x 1/2 inch planks to me.

    Definitely a dish that I'd make again.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      That salad of Spring Lettuces, Sweet Peas, Mint, Chives and Dill is divine. I nearly had a heart attack when someone asked for bleu cheese crumbles for it. She obviously did not "get" the idea about that salad.

      The Autumn Beet Salad with Spiced Pecans Pears and cheese is also worth the effort. Lovely stuff.

      1. re: Candy

        How funny - I was just making out my shopping list to get the ingredients for the beet salad. And I'm going to make the low country red rice (?) with shrimp for dinner - not sure what to serve with or before it though ....

        I know you've cooked from this book a lot - when you have time, I'd especially like hearing about dishes that would be particularly good in winter.

        1. re: MMRuth

          The red rice is pretty much an all in one dish. The PC as an app. that salad and maybe a bit of dessert, something light like the panna cotta. It is simple to do and delicious.

      2. re: MMRuth

        Your picture is amazing. It makes me want to eat that salad right now---and it's 6:06 am!

        1. re: MMRuth

          MMRuth: So how was it with the pecans? The photo looks gorgeous.

          1. re: oakjoan

            I really like the pecans - I think I posted about on the other thread - Southern Traditions(?) - and made a second batch last weekend just to nibble on and it's pretty much gone. (And, alas, I don't think my husband is nibbling on them.) I like the delicate flavors of it, but others have posted that they think they are a bit on the dull side.


          Another hugely successful recipe from this book. If you like the listed ingredients, or even think you might, make this salad.

          I used pancetta, as I often do when a recipe calls for bacon. And rather than do the cornbread as rounds, I made the cornbread into large croutons which I toasted about an hour before everyone arrived. I also used a variety of lettuces.

          The salad is beautiful to see, both vinaigrettes are terrific (I do variations on the buttermilk vinaigrette al the time, add lots of thyme!) and particularly if you have really fresh ingredients, it tastes wonderful. It is a staple for me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tom P

            I love that buttermilk dressing - made it last week since I had buttermilk leftover from making cornbread - and added chives to it which I think goes well.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I added chives too! Great minds...

          2. Autumn Beet Salad with Spiced Pecans, Pears and Fourme d'Ambert, p. 125

            Another terrific autumn/winter salad - reminded me of some of Goin's salads. The beets seemed to take forever to roast for some reason, but I suspect that had more to do with the beets, because usually 45 minutes is enough. I used Stilton instead of Fourme d'Ambert, as we've eaten a lot of the latter recently. For the lettuce, I used mesclun mix that had frisee, and added some mache.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              I made the Autumn Salad also and agree that it is terrific. My beets took forever as well. I didn't quite know what to make of that. There are two recipes within the recipe that are keepers: the sherry vinaigrette (shallot, thyme, sherry vinegar and olive oil) and the spiced pecans (cayenne dark brown sugar, chopped rosemary, butter and olive oil). I made many more pecans than the salad called for, and my husband munched happily. I thought the rosemary lent a wonderful flavor. Anyway, the salad , replete with the beets, pecans, pears and Fourme d'Ambert, looked absolutely stunning. I plan to make this often.

              1. re: onefineleo

                I think I'm going to use the Goin method for roasting beets going forward - 400 degrees at 45 minutes. Glad it wasn't just me who had trouble getting the beets "done". I agree about the pecans - made them again Sunday and having been nibbling ever since, and the sherry vinegar is in the fridge and has been used on other salads as well.

            2. I made the pickled shrimp on page 67 and it was a little...weird? Has anyone else made this and loved it? I'm wondering if I made a mistake or something.

              2 Replies
              1. re: WCchopper

                Is that in the "Southern Traditions" section? I think Tom P posted about it on that thread, and loved them.


       - the "A little something to start" section.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

              2. Watercress Salad with Shaved Mushrooms and Radishes, p. 108

                Overall, a lovely salad and I liked the sherry-honey vinaigrette. Next time I'd marinate the mushrooms and radishes separately, and use more mushrooms.