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Robert St. John’s ‘My South’ — and deviled eggs 3 ways

“My South”

My South is full of honest, hard-working people.

My South is colorblind. In my South, we don’t put a premium on pigment. No one cares whether you are black, white, red or green with orange polka dots.

My South is the birthplace of blues and jazz, and rock-and-roll. It has banjo pickers and fiddle players, but it is also has B.B. King, Muddy Waters, the Allman Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Elvis.

My South is hot.

My South smells of newly-mown grass.

My South was the South of The Partridge Family, Hawaii 5-0 and kick the can.

My South was creek swimming, cane-pole fishing and bird hunting.

In my South, football is king, and the Southeastern Conference is the kingdom.

My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.

In my South, soul food and country cooking are the same thing.

My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, butter beans, fried chicken, grits and catfish.

In my South we eat foie gras, caviar and truffles.

In my South, our transistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at  the same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.

In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday.

In my South, family matters, deeply.

My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, peach ice cream, banana pudding and oatmeal cream pies.

In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.

In my South the tea is iced, and almost as sweet as the women.

My South has air-conditioning.

My South is camellias, azaleas, wisteria and hydrangeas.

My South is humid.

In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus is the last person that got on the bus.

In my South, people still say “yes, ma’am,” “no, ma’am,” “please” and “thank you.”

In my South, we all wear shoes … most of the time.

My South is the best-kept secret in the country. Keep the secret … it keeps the idiots away.

 

 

For the hard-boiled eggs:

Place 24 eggs in a large pot. Add cool water, enough to cover the eggs by two inches. Add one tablespoon of salt to the water. Place the pot on high heat and cook for 20 minutes. Drain the water from the eggs and cover completely with ice water. Peel eggs once they are cool enough to handle. Store covered and refrigerated if they are not going to be used immediately.

Smokey bacon and

cheddar deviled eggs

8 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. yellow mustard

1 1/2 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

1 Tbsp. fresh chives, slice very thin, divided

3 strips bacon, good quality, cooked until crisp and chopped fine

2 Tbsp. sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Halve the eggs lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks and place them in a small mixing bowl. Reserve the whites.

Use a fork and smash the yolks together with the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, honey, salt, black pepper and half of the chives. Once the mixture is smooth, fold in the bacon and cheese. Fill each half of the egg whites with the yolk mixture and garnish each one with the remaining chives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield:16 pieces.

Creole crabmeat

deviled eggs

8 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tsp. Creole mustard

1 Tbs. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/8 tsp. Creole seasoning

1/4 tsp. hot sauce

1 Tbsp. pimento, very finely chopped and patted dry

2 tsp. red onion, very finely minced

1/3 lb. lump crabmeat, picked thoroughly to remove shells and cartilage

2 tsp. chopped parsley

Halve the eggs lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks and place them in a small mixing bowl. Reserve the whites.

Use a fork and smash the yolks together with the mayonnaise, Creole mustard, lemon juice, Creole seasoning and hot sauce. Once the yolk mixture is smooth, fold in the pimento, red onion and crab meat.

Fill each half of the egg whites with the yolk mixture and garnish each one with the chopped parsley. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield:16 pieces.

Spicy deviled eggs

8 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled

1 Tbsp. mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. sour cream

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. horseradish

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

1 tsp. fresh jalapeño, seeds removed and chopped fine

1 Tbsp. dill pickle, chopped fine

1 tsp. sweet pickle relish

2 Tbsp. green onion, very thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning

Halve the eggs lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks and place them in a small mixing bowl. Reserve the whites.

Use a fork to smash the yolks and mix with the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon, horseradish, dry mustard, vinegar, and cayenne until smooth. Add jalapeño, dill pickle, relish, and green onions. Fill each half of the egg whites with the yolk mixture and garnish each one with the Creole seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield:16 pieces.

Robert St. John is a Hattiesburg chef, restaurant owner and the author of several cookbooks. To learn more about his recipes and restaurants, visit robertstjohn.com.