On Thursday, Flay suggested a traditional Southern recipe that's supposed to bring good luck in the new year. Of course, Flay adds lots of his own touches, as well.
It's called Hoppin' John, and Flay's version is called Hoppin' John with Champagne Beurre Blanc.
Flay told co-anchor Tracy Smith, "Southerners swear by the fact that the first thing you eat every New Year's is 'Hoppin' John,' which is black-eyed peas and rice."
The peas are supposed to bring good luck so, says Flay, the first thing you eat at the stroke of midnight is Hoppin' John, perhaps with some champagne.
Champagne Beurre Blanc: According to About.com, "beurre blanc" translates into English as "white butter." It's a rich, buttery, slightly tangy sauce usually associated with the cuisine of the Loire Valley. It's typically used to accompany the fairly bland river fish of the area. A classic of French cuisine is the Brochet au beurre blanc or Loire Pike with butter sauce.
There is a friendly controversy between Nantes and the Anjou region over who can claim to be the birthplace of the sauce. The Angevins insist that real beurre blanc can only be made with the local gray shallots, that shallots should not be strained out of the sauce, and that it was first used as a sauce for pike at the restaurant La Poissonnière in Anger.
Very logical reasoning, says Flay, but he likes the story from Nantes a bit better. It takes place around the turn of the century in the kitchens of château of the Marquis de Goulaine. His kitchen staff was preparing for an important dinner under the direction of his head cuisinière, Madame Clémence Lefeuvre. She was very busy preparing the pike and asked an assistant to make a bérnaise sauce, which she liked to serve with the fish. The assistant forgot to add the tarragon and the egg yolks but there was no time to start over, so Clémence decided to serve the sauce as it was. After the meal, the Marquis asked Clémence to come into the dining room where, of course, she expected to be reprimanded. Instead, he praised her new preparation and gave it the name of "beurre blanc." Clémence soon took it and opened her own auberge.
Although they can't agree on the birthplace of the sauce, both will tell you that the inclusion of cream is not an "authentic" beurre blanc.
There are hundreds of recipes for creating the perfect beurre blanc. The one in the segment is the one Flay loves.
Hoppin' John: A dish of black-eyed peas cooked with salt, pork or other fatty meat, and seasonings. Hoppin' John is thought to have originated with African slaves on Southern plantations. The dish is traditionally served on New Year's Day for good luck. It is traditionally made with ham hock and served over white rice. Flay serves his over risotto. He also uses slab bacon, as opposed to ham hock. Ham hock isn't difficult to find, but slab bacon is much more accessible and easier to use for home cooks.
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