Say “Southern living” and sweet summer images fill my mind…Thoughts of muggy evenings spent on a front porch, sipping sweet tea while watching fireflies flit through the yard. But back in the 1960s, the era in which the book-turned-movie “The Help” takes place, “Southern living” conjured less idyllic sentiments. Set in Jackson, Mississippi (where author author Kathryn Stockett is from) during the civil rights movement, “The Help” is about a group of women who find strength, resilience and determination in the face of racial discrimination.
To celebrate the opening of this empowering movie, we asked Karin Calloway, Viking Range Corporation’s on-line chef, to share with us a few seasonal Southern dishes that would have given Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny the strength to write through the night! If mini catfish cakes or fried chicken don’t tickle your fancy, find your way over to Karin’s blog where you can find an entire menu she dedicated to “The Help“!
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound catfish, poached, cooled and shredded
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with the oil and set aside. Combine shredded catfish with the breadcrumbs, mayonnaise and old bay in a bowl. Shape into 1-inch patties and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Turn cakes over to coat both sides with oil. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until golden.
Peachy Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons chopped canned spiced peaches
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco together in a bowl. Fold in peaches and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 24 cakes and 1 cup of sauce.
2 cups buttermilk
5-6 dashes Tabasco sauce
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Place buttermilk in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add Tabasco and squeeze to combine. Add chicken breasts, seal the bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Drain chicken pieces and discard marinade. Combine flour, salt, pepper and cayenne in a zip-top or paper bag and shake to combine. Add chicken breasts, one at a time, shaking to coat well before adding another chicken breast. Set aside.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 350-375 degrees in a Dutch oven. Add several of the chicken breasts, being careful not to crowd them. Fry on one side for several minutes, until golden. Turn and fry on the other side. Remove one chicken breast from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Insert an instant-read thermometer and if the temperature reads 170 degrees, remove the chicken breasts to the platter to drain and continue with the remaining breasts. If not, return to the oil and fry for a few minutes more, checking a breast for temperature until 170 degrees is reached. (Can keep warm in a 200-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)
Honey Pecan Sauce
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
12 ounces honey
3/4 cup Creole mustard
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat through. Place the chicken breasts on dinner plates and drizzle with sauce.
Makes 8 servings.