A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen

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Clarkson Potter

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When Hugh Acheson (now a James Beard Award winner as a chef and author) moved from Ottowa to Georgia, who knew that he would woo his adopted home state and they would embrace him as one of their own?  In 2000, following French culinary training on both coasts, Hugh opened Five and Ten in Athens, a college town known for R.E.M., and the restaurant became a spotlight for his exciting interpretation of traditional Southern fare. Five and Ten became a favorite local haunt as well as a destination—Food & Wine named Hugh a “Best New Chef” and at seventy miles away, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Five and Ten the best restaurant in Atlanta. Then came the five consecutive James Beard nominations. Now, after opening two more restaurants and a wine shop, Hugh is ready to share 120 recipes of his eclectic, bold, and sophisticated flavors, inspired by fresh ingredients. In A New Turn in the South, you’ll find libations, seasonal vegetables that take a prominent role, salads and soups, his prized sides, and fish and meats—all of which turn Southern food on its head every step of the way. Hugh’s recipes include: Oysters on the Half Shell with Cane Vinegar and Chopped Mint Sauce, shucked and left in their bottom shells; Chanterelles on Toast with Mushrooms that soak up the flavor of rosemary, thyme, and lemon; Braised and Crisped Pork Belly with Citrus Salad—succulent and inexpensive, but lavish; Yellow Grits with Sautéed Shiitakes, Fried Eggs, and Salsa Rossa—a stunning versatile condiment; Fried Chicken with Stewed Pickled Green Tomatoes—his daughters’ favorite dish; and Lemon Chess Pies with Blackberry Compote—his go-to classic Southern pie with seasonal accompaniment. With surprising photography full of Hugh’s personality, and pages layered with his own quirky writing and sketches, he invites you into his community and his innovative world of food—to add new favorites to your repertoire. 


Hugh Acheson
Clarkson Potter
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Clarkson Potter
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Clarkson Potter
Clarkson Potter
A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen
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Bertis Downs
10 inches
7.99 inches
2.98 pounds
1.3 inches
Is Eligible For Trade In

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Pros: beautifully designed, creative recipes
Cons: hard to keep open on the counter
Southern food is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance at the moment, and part of this new fascination can probably be linked to Hugh Acheson.  At his restaurant, Five and Ten in Athens, Georgia, Hugh takes Southern traditional specialties and puts a creative culinary spin on them that elevates them to the kind of food you'd expect at a fancy restaurant.  I haven't been to the restaurant, but if the book is any indication, he mostly succeeds.

The book itself is beautiful - thick pages with hand drawn designs and macro photography of finished dishes.  It draws you in and makes your mouth start watering before you've even assembled an ingredient list.  The photograph of the sweetbreads with baked grits was so luscious, it made me seriously consider trying the cut for the first time.

The recipe I originally chose to try was the squash casserole.  This is a very traditional Southern side dish.  Fresh summer squash, cream, and cheese, baked together beneath a layer of breadcrumbs until the whole thing is soft and warm and comforting.  Hugh's version uses leek crema (which is delicious), two kinds of squash (traditional yellow squash and zucchini), and Parmesan subs in for the usual Cheddar. The leek crema was not difficult to make at all, although the timing on sweating the leeks maybe be off slightly.  My stovetop could also run hot, it's possible.  The casserole itself is a six-layer wonder, and I was salivating as it went into the oven.  I pulled it out a little over half an hour later to disappointment, however.  The squash was barely cooked, still crunchy in places, and the Parmesan flavor was almost non-existent.  I could taste the good ideas underneath, but the recipe as written either needs to be edited or wasn't tested properly.  In the traditional casserole the squash is partially cooked ahead of time.  Going into the oven raw requires a much longer cooking time.

After the squash casserole disappointment, I decided to try another recipe from the book, convinced that Hugh's creations could really sing.  I chose something simple, yet difficult for almost every cook to get right: lemonade.  Hugh's version includes mint and rosemary with a vanilla bean thrown in to steep.  The result is amazing.  A complex, refreshing lemonade with just the right tartness balanced with just the right sweetness.  I would serve this to the most discriminating Southern food fan.  It's delicious.

Encouraged by my lemonade success, I'm going to keep working my way through the book.  There's a fried okra salad and some smothered pork chops that are calling my name.

Lemonade with Vanilla, Mint, & Rosemary

8 cups (2 quarts) cold water

8 large lemons

1 cup granulated sugar

10 sprigs fresh mint

1/2 vanilla bean, scraped seeds and pod

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Pour the water in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.  While the water is coming to a boil, halve the lemons and juice them thoroughly.  Place the juice and the juiced lemon halves in a large heat-proof nonreactive pot.  Add the sugar, 2 sprigs of mint, the vanilla seeds and pod, and the rosemary.

Pour the boiling water over the mixture.  Stir carefully and let sit for 20 minutes.  Stir well again and strain out the solids, then discard them and pour the lemonade into Mason jars or a large pitcher and keep refrigerated until people get thirsty.

To serve, pour lemonade over ice in tall glasses, garnish each with a mint leaf, and sit on a porch.

Makes 2 quarts; or Serves 8


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