Top dishes of the South: This year’s conversation starters

There’s no end in sight for the nation’s current love affair with Southern cooking.

We’re happy to report that there’s no end in sight for the nation’s current love affair with Southern cooking, said John T. Edge in Garden & Gun. To keep the romance going, we surveyed the landscape to identify the dishes that are most likely to keep the chattering classes swooning during the year ahead.

Creamed rice with clams and ham Risotto gets a Southern accent when chef Steven Satterfield coaxes Carolina Gold rice to creaminess, studs it with turnip greens and country ham, then tops it with turnip roots and delicate Capers Inlet clams. The resulting dish is “an exemplar of understated luxury.” Featured at Miller Union in Atlanta. (millerunion.com)

The ‘Drunken Hog’ When the Mexican torta becomes the next big crossover craze, chef Joshua Gentry will be noted as a pioneer. For his “drunken hog,’ he pulls pork out of the hickory pit, piles it on a toasted bun, and serves it beside a bowl of warm tomato gravy that “recalls a more resonant and viscous barbecue sauce.” Featured at Little Donkey in Homewood, Ala. (thelittledonkey.com)

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Fried cornbread No matter what else you order at this “workhorse of a meat-and-three café,” fried cornbread will round out the meal. Fried hard, the cornbread “emerges from the roiling oil with a sandpaper crust and a creamy core.” Featured at Bailey & Cato Family Restaurant in Nashville. (baileyandcatorestaurant.com)

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