After my trip to Nashville I am obsessed with southern cooking. I could not get enough of the shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, biscuits and hot fried chicken that we enjoyed. If there’s one thing you’ll find an abundance of in the South, it’s delicious food. From hearty mains to tasty sides, there is a lot to choose from. Here are a few staples that you will find when dining out in the Music City.
Meat and Three: You haven’t eaten like a true Southerner until you’ve enjoyed a meat and three, which, in simple terms, is when you order one meat and three side dishes from a list of daily specials. Many times this type of meal comes with cornbread and sweet tea, which are also southern food staples.
Fried Pickles: In the South just about everything is fried, and pickles are no exception. You’ll find fried dill pickles, fried hamburger pickles and fried pickles with a hint of garlic.
Catfish: With all the fishing that people do in Tennessee, it’s no wonder that catfish is such a popular food, and like many southern recipes, it’s best served fried. Of course you’ll find catfish in many different forms; sometimes it comes with hushpuppies and fries, shrimp or other types of fish. Find catfish served quickly and at a reasonable price.
Barbecue: From pulled pork to sweetly slathered ribs, Tennessee is known for its mouthwatering barbecue. In addition to sandwiches you’ll find spicy beans, mac ‘n cheese, and coleslaw on most barbecue restaurant menus. Some places even pile coleslaw on top of the meat for an extra tasty option.
Biscuits and Gravy: There’s nothing more satisfying than biting into a warm, moist biscuit, but when you top those biscuits with gravy, the flavor becomes even more intense. You can enjoy biscuits and gravy for breakfast or with your supper; as long as biscuits are part of your meal, you know you’re eating in true southern style.
Here are a few tasty Nashville recipes with an added Bellisari's touch.
Nashville Hot Fried Chicken
½ cup Bellisari's Barista Sauce
2-3½ 4-pound chickens, each cut into 10 pieces (breasts halved)
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. plus 4 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
2 Tbsp. vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
4 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups)
6 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
White bread and sliced pickles (for serving)
A deep-fry thermometer
Toss chicken with black pepper and 2 Tbsp. salt in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Whisk eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 tsp. salt in another large bowl. Fit a Dutch oven with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 2". Heat over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 325°F. Pat chicken dry. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pieces registers 160° for white meat and 165° for dark, 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup frying oil. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Drizzle with warm Bellisari’s Barista Sauce and serve with bread and pickles.
Do ahead: Chicken can be seasoned 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Shrimp and Grits with Blue Cheese
4 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 cup stone-ground grits
3 Tbsp. butter
1 jar Bellisari’s Blue Cheese Honey and Shallot Spread
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced
*You can add one egg over light for a garnish if interested
Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey and Shallot Spread.
Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Saigon Deviled Eggs
1/2 tsp. of paprika
3 Tbsp. of Bellisari's Saigon Street Sauce
Place eggs in a pot of salted water. Bring the water to a boil, and let the eggs cook in boiling water until they are hard boiled (about 10-15 minutes). Drain eggs.
Cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove the egg yolks and mash them together in a small mixing bowl. Mix in the Bellisari's Saigon Street Sauce. Spoon mixture into the egg whites; cool and sprinkle with paprika. Serve and enjoy!