Y’all Comeback Now, Ya Hear?

Saturday night, Aug. 7 after the MWG Conference in Vicksburg, we had a delicious supper at Duff’s Restaurant. The atmosphere was candlelight-rustic, with interesting artwork to feast our eyes upon while waiting for our wonderful meal. I had the ribeye steak, garlic potatoes and steamed veggies. Pat had pecan encrusted catfish. Others had vegetarian dishes and linguine. But the real surprise treat came before the meal. Duff’s Restaurant showed our facilitators some real Mississippi hospitality with an appetizer tray of smoked salmon and fried pickles. That’s right, FRIED PICKLES! Now I don’t fry much of anything anymore, but I will never turn down fried dill pickles. Our New York facilitators–Regina Brooks, Founder and President of Serendipity and Katie McHugh, Executive Director of Da Capo Lifelong Books, had never heard of fried pickles. We then got into the discussion of fried green things and how it’s not healthy to fry anything anymore when I admitted I did like to fry up some fried green tomatoes, fresh out of my daddy’s garden, topped with cheddar cheese and bacon bits. My sauce of choice is Pepper Ranch dressing.  My New Orleans theatre friends, however, prefer Comeback sauce. What is that? Regina wanted to know. Then, to my surprise, a couple of my fellow Mississippian dinner partners had never heard of the sauce either! For all the Yankees (and Southerners) who don’t know, Comeback sauce is a combination of 1,000 Island dressing and remoulade sauce to be used on french fries, deep fried vegetables (like pickles or tomatoes), chicken, seafood, beef or salads. According to the Clarion Ledger “It is the Queen Mother of all Mississippi condiments.” Recipes may vary, but here is one version: 

Mississippi Comeback Sauce

An Original from the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of regular or Asian sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup of of ketchup
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of spicy mustard
1 cup of Kraft mayonnaise
8 turns of the pepper grinder
Couple dashes of hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Slap Ya Mama or your favorite
     Cajun/Creole seasoning, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
The juice of 1/2 of a lemon

FRIED PICKLES

Cock Of The Walk Fried Pickles, Natchez, MS

Dill pickle slices
Salt
Pepper
1 egg
8 ounces milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
5 to 6 drops Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups flour

  • Mix egg, milk, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and 1 tablespoon flour in bowl.
  • Mix salt, pepper (to taste), and 2 cups flour in bowl.
  • Dip pickles in egg wash, then flour, then egg, then flour, then drop in hot oil and fry until golden.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES 

 (A Mississippi Recipe from the Washington Post)

Adapted from “Not Afraid of Flavor” by Ben and Karen Barker

1/2 cup buttermilk (KOD note: No buttermilk in the house? Use same amount of milk or 1 egg beaten with 1/4 cup water)
8-12 slices firm, unripe green tomato, ½ inch thick
1 cup coarse-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup peanut oil

My Recipe is simply: coat green tomato slices  in a cornmeal, salt, pepper mixture–with or without dredging them first in buttermilk–and fry in hot olive oil just for a couple of minutes to brown each side (some people  fry bacon in the iron skillet, take out the bacon and then fry the tomatoes in that grease). I arrange the tomatoes on a plate, top them with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon bits and stick in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so until cheese melts. Dunk in Pepper Ranch dressing or Comeback sauce!

Katie, Regina, Wynne, Pat, Richelle

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