With summer produce at its peak, Chef Mike Davis of Columbia, S.C.’s Terra is spotlighting the South’s bounty in this simple, yet crave-worthy dish. Using all locally sourced produce, this dish is expertly crafted to let the ingredients shine and is a guest favorite.
The recipe begins with perfectly cooked field peas from Yandle’s, a small produce market located right in the heart of Columbia. The field peas are combined with Carolina Gold Rice from Anson Mills, a few shakes of hot sauce butter and scallions to complete the dish’s Hoppin’ John base. Next, the okra is spiced with a cornmeal and flour mixture to add some heat and soaked in buttermilk before it is fried to give it the “ultimate crispiness.” A grilled Mahi Mahi filet, sourced from local South Carolina fishermen is placed on top of the Hoppin’ John, Fried Okra, and Crystal Host Sauce Butter. The end result is a simple, fresh combination of textures, flavors, and summer ingredients.
Carolina Gold Rice
- 6 cups water
- 7 ounces (1 cup) Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a heavy-bottomed 3½-quart saucepan, bring the water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, stir once, and as soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender with no hard starch at its center, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice in a fine-holed footed colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake the colander to drain off excess water.
Distribute the rice evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the rice to dry for about 5 minutes, gently turning the grains from time to time with a spatula. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with the pepper and salt to taste. Return the baking sheet to the oven and allow the rice to warm through, occasionally turning the grains, until the butter has melted and the rice is hot, about 5 minutes more. Cool rice after finished and reserve for serving.
*Recipe from Anson Mills
- 2 lbs of fresh field peas (Pink Eye, Dixie Lee, or White Acre are what we use)
- ½ white onion
- 1 stalk celery
- ½ carrot peeled
- small piece of bacon
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 2-3 scallions, chopped thin reserved for plating
Cover peas with water by 1 inch in heavy pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and bacon. Cook peas on medium heat about 30-40 minutes until tender. Cool and reserve.
Crystal Hot Sauce Butter
- 2 cups white cooking wine
- 1 cup Crystal Hot Sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 shallot, minced
- ½ lb butter, cold cut into chunks
Mix wine and hot sauce in heavy bottom sauce pan. Reduce so that total liquid is about 1/4 cup. Slowly whisk in butter a few chunks at a time. Constantly stir to create emulsion. Once finished, keep warm to prevent breaking.
- 2 pieces of okra per person, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ½ cup AP flour
- Salt and Pepper
- Buttermilk with hot sauce stirred in until light pink in color
Cut okra, soak in buttermilk mix for 1 minute. Coat in cornmeal/flour mixture. Fry in fryer at 350 degrees for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
To assemble Hoppin’ John and grill the Mahi Mahi
To make Hoppin’ John, mix peas and rice with a little of the pea cooking liquid. You want to have 2/3 of mix to be peas and 1/3 to be rice. Warm slowly over medium heat in heavy pot. Add 2-3 dashes of hot sauce, 2 pats of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat your grill for the fish. While the Hoppin’ John is heating up, season Mahi Mahi with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on thickness of filet. Careful not to overcook.
To finish, spoon Hoppin’ John into open bowl. Top with scallions, spoon hot sauce butter around Hoppin’ John. Place fish on top. Place fried okra around fish. Enjoy!