'Beautiful Beaufort' captures flavor of our charming city

features@beaufortgazette.comMay 14, 2013 

I love living in the Lowcountry and enjoy sharing this love with others.

Martin McFie is the same way. When he stepped into Beaufort he wanted others to know just how charming and beautiful this city is.

In "Beautiful Beaufort, Pearl of the South," McFie describes the Lowcountry through photos, history, stories, recipes and music. This coffee table book, which includes a CD and DVD, will be released May 19. The release will be celebrated at a concert, "Side by Side" with the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra and Beaufort Youth Symphony Orchestra, at 3 p.m. at Beaufort High School's Performing Arts Center, 84 Sea Island Parkway. Tickets are $20; $5 for youth. Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the youth orchestra.

In "Beautiful Beaufort," McFie includes a number of familiar places, such as The Castle, built a year after the Civil War, or the John Joiner Smith House on Bay Street. The vivid photography and prose capture it all. Seeing the swinging benches in Waterfront Park, the span of the bridge, the steeples of Beaufort's churches and the creatures of the marshes, well, it makes me want to pinch myself and say, "It doesn't get any better than this."

The book also includes recipes created by Breakwater Restaurant's executive Chef Gary Lang and restaurant director Donna Lang.

Here are a few of their recipes:

NAPOLEON OF FRIED TOMATOES

Slices of fresh locally gown green tomatoes are deep-fried. In between the slices of tomato are layers of pimento cheese. Herbs and chili oils are used to decorate and enhance this quintessential Southern dish with a light modern twist.

The tomato slices are triple-dipped, first in pepper-seasoned White Lily Flour, then in an egg wash and finally in cornmeal.

PIMENTO CHEESE

4 tablespoons diced roasted red pepper

1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground sea salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Blend and use immediately or cover; date and refrigerate.

BREAKWATER BUTTER

Dinner at Breakwater begins with fresh-baked miniature biscuits. A unique marmalade butter waits on the side to be spread. At home, you will not use enough marmalade to warrant making it. Purchase a good quality, low sugar marmalade from the store. Set a stick of butter out to soften in a mixing bowl, add a tablespoon of marmalade and a pinch of salt. Blend them together well and enjoy on a warm biscuit.

BASIL LEMON CORNBREAD PUDDING

This is another favorite creation by Chef Lang. He suggests using day-old corn bread, which gives the very best results because it absorbs the custard more completely.

4 tablespoons butter, unsalted

4 large eggs

3 3/4 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 lemon juice and zest

1 cup sugar

10 cups cornbread, cut into large cubes

Basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Melt the butter and cool to room temperature. In a mixer, beat eggs and sugar to the ribbon stage. Beat in butter, half-and-half, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Place bread cubes in a baking dish and sprinkle with basil. Pour the custard mixture over the bread until it covers completely. Place in a water bath, where the baking dish is placed in a larger pan filled with water to about one half up to the side of the dish. Bake for about one hour. Test with a toothpick.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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