Low Country Goodness
As an African American I have eaten more than my share of soul food. Since I have decided to eat better, the heavy, salty, fat laden foods no longer have a place on my table at least not every day. I have been watching documentaries about African foodways and their impact on southern cooking. One of the groups that keep making an appearance are the Gullah Geechee people in the Carolina regions. Soul food in this region is based on fresh fruit and vegetables and seafood. Basically if you can grow it or catch it then that’s what shows up on the plate.
So I have started incorporating some of these concepts into our diet at home. One of my kids favorite meals is fish and grits. I prefer fried catfish but since we are eating healthier, I roast Rainbow Trout instead leaving the fried fish for occasional treats. I take a huge filet and season it with an unsalted lemon pepper seasoning. I use unsalted so I can control the salt. I find that pre-salted seasoning tends to have more salt than seasoning. If I’m frying fish then I use a combination of Old Bay with this so the fish is still well seasoned after it is fried.
True to the low country tradition, I use stone ground grits. They take longer to cook but are so worth the wait. It’s almost like eating hot buttered popcorn in liquid form. I cook them in a combination of broth and milk. I add a teaspoon of salt and pepper before I add the grits. Once this comes to a boil, stir in the grits. Stir frequently while cooking to avoid lumps. It cooks in about the same time as rice.
To round out the meal I either sautee some kale or make some succotash with okra, corn, peppers, onions and tomatoes. It’s a hardy meal and if you time it right it’s done in about thirty minutes. Good for the belly and good for the soul.