The Dish: Chef Rob Newton shares his twist on Southern cooking with recipes from his book "Seeking the South"

Southern recipes from Chef Rob Newton

Chef Rob Newton was born and raised in Arkansas and served in the U.S. Army before heading to college, and later, cooking school. He had a long career in both New York and Nashville, then decided to focus on his passion for sharing his native region's food with the world.

In the fall of 2019, Newton released a cookbook titled "Seeking the South" to reflect the diversity of the American South's cuisine. He shared some of the recipes on "CBS This Morning."


SATSUMA, FENNEL, MINT, AND ARUGULA SALAD (serves 4 to 6)

Ingredients:

  • 8 satsumas
  • 1 lemon
  • 2⁄3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (stalks removed and larger fronds reserved and hand-torn for garnish)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus more to taste
  • 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olives, for serving (I like Cerignola but any will work)
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Seeking the South

Directions:

Peel 6 of the satsumas and tear into individual segments; set aside. Juice the remaining 2 satsumas into a small mixing bowl, then juice enough of the lemon to get about ¹⁄³ cup combined juices. Add the olive oil, pepper flakes, and salt. Set the  dressing aside.

Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife, shave the fennel bulbs paper thin into a large mixing bowl or salad bowl; try not to get too much of the core into the bowl. You should have about 4 cups shaved fennel.

Add the arugula and mint, plus more mint if you'd like, then add the satsuma segments. To finish the salad, add some black pepper if desired. 

Shake or stir the dressing very well and pour half all over the perimeter of the salad. Mix well and add more to taste.

Once the salad is to your liking, sprinkle with the Parmesan and top with the fennel fronds. Serve with the olives in a small bowl alongside the salad.


RAW COLLARD GREENS WITH COCONUT AND GRAPEFRUIT (serves 6)

Ingredients (BENNE SEED DRESSING):

  • 1 teaspoon benne or sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest
  • 3 tablespoons juice (from 1 grapefruit, see note)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chili flakes 
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3⁄4 cup grapeseed oil

Ingredients (SALAD):

  • 2 bunches (12 to 14 leaves) collard greens, washed and stripped of stems, sliced into 1⁄4-inch-thick ribbons
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted
  • 1 grapefruit, zested, peeled, and cut into segments (see note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
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Seeking the South

Directions (DRESSING):

To toast the benne or sesame seeds, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the seeds. Shake constantly until fragrant and slightly brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the toasted seeds, grapefruit zest and juice, vinegar, soy sauce, tahini, sugar, chili flakes, and salt and whisk until incorporated. Slowly whisk in the grapeseed oil until the dressing thickens slightly.

Directions (SALAD):

In a large serving bowl, combine the collard greens and half of the coconut flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle about ¼ cup of the dressing around the perimeter of the bowl and toss with the salad, gently massaging the dressing into the collard greens for a full minute. Add the grapefruit segments and give the salad one more nice toss.

Sprinkle with the remaining coconut and serve immediately, with additional dressing on the side.

NOTE: You'll need one grapefruit. First, grate the colored part of the peel to get 3 tablespoons zest. Then remove the remaining peel and pith with a paring knife. Use a paring knife to gently ease each segment out from between the membranes, and squeeze the skin and inner flesh for extra juice.


TURNIP AND POTATO PANCAKES WITH YOGURT, DILL, AND DILLYBEANS (makes 6 pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 turnips, peeled
  • 1 russet potato, peeled
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for finishing
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, peeled
  • 1⁄2 cup canola oil

For Serving:

  • 8 ounces plain full-fat yogurt
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill, large stems removed and lightly chopped
  • 1 cup pickled dillybeans, cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
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Seeking the South

Directions:
Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the turnips and potato into a mixing bowl. Cover with cold water and stir to release the starch. Drain off the water and squeeze the potato and turnips by hand to remove excess moisture.

Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze further to remove as much liquid as possible. Remove the towel and add the potato and turnip mixture to a bowl; stir well to combine.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Grate the shallot into this mixture, mix well, and add to the potato mixture. Stir very well at first with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and then, while standing over the sink, use your hands to gently squeeze out some of the moisture and help the ingredients come together.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with paper towels.

In a 9-inch cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high, heat ¼ cup of the oil until shimmering but not smoking. Spoon 1/8-cup portions of the turnip-potato mixture into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan (you should be able to fit 3 per batch).

Cook on one side, undisturbed, until the pancakes are crispy and brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip, sprinkle the exposed sides with salt, and cook for about 5 more minutes, until crispy and brown. Transfer to the lined baking sheet.

Repeat with fresh oil and the remaining batter. Note that, as the batter sets, it will become wetter; leave some of the moisture in the bowl as you make your second batch.

When all pancakes are cooked, remove the paper towels and place the baking sheet in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until the pancakes are thoroughly heated through and crispy.

TO SERVE: Spread the yogurt all over the bottom of a platter or individual plates. Place the pancakes in the yogurt. Mix the dill and chopped dillybeans and scatter around the pancakes and in some of the yogurt.


PORK ROAST WITH ONION-THYME PAN GRAVY (Serves 6 to 8)

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds bone-in pork shoulder roast, tied up by your butcher
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bacon fat or canola oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne, plus more to taste
  • Up to 2 cups pork stock or chicken stock or water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chili vinegar, to serve (optional)
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Seeking the South

Directions:

If you can prep the pork a day ahead, rub 2 tablespoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper all over the pork shoulder; take it easy with the salt on the edges or any small pieces sticking out as they can become too salty. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 28 hours.

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

In a large ovenproof heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the pork and sear on all sides for 5 to 6 minutes per side, turning carefully, until evenly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pork aside to rest.

Using the same pan, reduce the heat to low and add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine. Allow to sweat and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and place the roast in the center of the pan, along with any accumulated juices.

Place the pan in the oven, uncovered, and slowly roast for 4 hours, basting once per hour. When done, the roast should move easily when poked and feel tender.

Remove the roast from the oven to a separate baking sheet and tent with foil; leave the onions in the pan. Allow the roast to rest in a warm place while you finish the sauce.

Remove the drippings (liquid only) from the pan and carefully spoon into a bowl. Allow to separate for a few minutes.

Skim about 4 tablespoons of the fat from the top of the drippings and return this fat to the pan with the onions. Turn the heat to medium and add the flour, whisking, until well combined, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the thyme and cayenne and stir well to combine.

Take the remaining drippings and add enough stock or water to get to 2 cups. Add this liquid to the pan and stir well to combine. When it almost reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow to cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to remove any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan. Check seasonings and add salt if necessary.

Carve the pork into ½-inch slices and serve with a few spoonfuls of the gravy on top and the rest in a bowl alongside.

Serve with chili vinegar on the table, if using.


PEANUT BUTTER PARFAITS WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE (serves 6, with cookies to spare)

Ingredients (PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES):

  • 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon molasses or sorghum
  • 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sugar for sprinkling on the cookies (turbinado is nice)

Ingredients (CHOCOLATE GANACHE):

  • 1⁄2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream

Ingredients (PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE):

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1⁄4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 cup shaken buttermilk or full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1⁄2 cup roasted and chopped peanuts, for topping
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Seeking the South

Directions (COOKIES):

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a standing or handheld mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter, scraping down the bowl once, until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, molasses, and vanilla and beat well to incorporate, another 15 to 20 seconds.

In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold the flour into the peanut butter mixture in two batches, being careful not to overmix.

Roll the dough into balls about 1½ inches in diameter (or if weighing, about 1.5 ounces each). Place on the lined baking sheets about 2½ inches apart. Press down on each ball slightly with a fork, turn the tines once, and press again to make a grid pattern. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of each cookie.

Bake until pillowy soft to the touch, 12 to 14 minutes, watching closely after the 10-minute mark. They may seem too soft, but allow them to crisp up as they cool, about 1 hour, and try to not eat them all.

Directions (GANACHE):

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil.

Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Set aside somewhere warm until ready to use.

Directions (MOUSSE):

Using a standing or handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the vanilla until well combined. Add the buttermilk and mix again until creamy and smooth.

Place the mousse in a piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with the corner cut off.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream with the remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla until it holds its shape. Fold half into the peanut butter mixture. Add more if needed to make a smooth mousse, but reserve enough whipped cream to garnish the parfaits.

To Assemble:

Using jars or parfait glasses, break up two to three cookies to line the bottoms in a single even layer.

For each parfait, pipe one layer of mousse on top of the cookie and drizzle with a few spoonfuls of chocolate ganache. Repeat layering a second time with the mousse and ganache.

Top with the whipped cream, a final drizzle of ganache, and a sprinkling of peanuts. Serve with any extra cookies and whipped cream on the table.