cover image South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations

South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations

Sean Brock. Artisan, $40 (376p) ISBN 978-1-57965-716-1

In this masterful follow-up to his James Beard Award–winning Heritage, Brock observes, “The American South has a geographical area roughly equal to that of continental Europe.” Thus, he describes the territory as a land of microregions, finding the similarities as well as the differences that exist in the foods of the Southeast. Among the more than 125 recipes, a chapter of snacks includes deviled crab from the Low Country, fried bologna with pickled peach mustard from Appalachia, and two versions of shrimp and grits. The chef’s love of heirloom tomatoes is evident not only in his salads and side dishes but also in grilled catfish with barely cooked tomatoes, as well as a rhubarb-tomato conserve that pairs well with poultry. The recipe for basic cornbread is accompanied by four variations, including a “sour” version that calls for a cornmeal, buttermilk, and bacon fat mixture to ferment for three days. A grill is the preferred source of heat for many dishes, including grilled quail with red-eye gravy, while canning mavens will appreciate a stellar chapter of preserved pantry items that includes watermelon molasses. Brock wears his Southern heart on his sleeve in this mouthwatering, virtuosic collection. (Oct.)