As 2012 draws to a close, it’s hard not to think about what an amazing year it’s been, and our thanks go to you for helping to make it happen. This year as always, we are throwing a special dinner party to close out the year, and as always it is a unique one. We let loose a little bit and indulge in a way that we don’t normally on a daily basis. We think that’s actually a very Southern thing. Live for the occasion. Southern food is known for being unabashedly decadent, rich, and unforgiving of any diet. But we know that’s not true, in fact we reject that very notion. Southern cooking has always been about what’s nearby, what’s fresh, and that usually means an abundance of fresh garden produce prepared simply and lovingly, and if you’ve read as many of the old Southern cooking texts as I have, it also means not cooking things to death. It means simple, pure flavors prepared healthily for daily living. Indulging was saved for festivals and holidays, and here we are.
If you’re a regular guest at Big Jones and we hope you are, you know ingredients like truffles, steak, and black trumpet mushrooms don’t show up on the menu every day. Neither does a 5-course tasting menu. We save these indulgences for just this kind of occasion, and while historic Southern cooking is most often at the forefront of our cooking, here we let our creative juices flow a bit and explore the possibilities of the future, even as Southern culinary tradition informs us every step of the way. This is a time to look ahead, Auld Lang Syne.
We begin the dinner with an amuse that fits our philosophy for the dinner perfectly – for the fourth year, we start with a modern version of Hoppin’ John and greens, the requisite Southern dish of the New Year for good luck and money. It’s a sea island pea “cappuccino” topped with bacon froth and puffed Carolina gold rice and parched collard greens. It’s a simple shooter of creamy sea island red pea puree with some unique toppings that also make up that New Year’s plate of good luck – peas, rice, greens. It’s also ridiculously delicious, and particularly fitting – here’s a very modern presentation of heritage ingredients that collectively have been around since at least the 17th century. In fact, this basic combination of African red peas and Carolina gold rice and greens, later to include salt pork, is the very origin of the heralded hoppin’ john, and represents the one of the very oldest pillars of Southern food. In this dinner we aim for that kind of time-transcending experience throughout – it’s a great way to celebrate the passing of time and potential for renewal.
Please join us for a special evening, be safe, and best of luck and fortune in the new year!
A Celebration of the New Year
Monday December 31, 2012 — 5pm—12am
Table d’hôte, choose one per course
A Gullah Good Luck Charm
Sea Island Red Pea “Cappuccino” puffed Carolina gold rice, parched collard greens, and bacon froth
Carolina Gold Rice Risotto with cauliflower puree, leeks, and roasted black trumpet mushrooms
Crispy Fried Laughing Bird Shrimp with creamy grits, tasso beurre monte, and piccalilli
Awendaw Spoonbread with Corn Mushroom Butter
Creole Oyster & Sausage Gumbo with Arkansas Delta rice
Turtle Soup with Madeira, pickled quail eggs, and scallions
Hoophouse Mustard Greens with satsuma, candied peanut, & ginger benne vinaigrette
choice of Entrée
Pecan Wood-grilled Ribeye with wood grilled Louisiana coast white prawn,
fingerling potato, creamed spinach, marchand-du-vin
Butter-poached Shareholders’ Alliance Grouper with pasta e sieve, creamy butterbeans,
lobster sausage, potted peppers, and kumquat chutney
Winter Vegetable Pie with parsnips, celery root, rutabaga, and truffle, creamed salsify sauce
choice of Dessert
Bourbon Chocolate Beignets with sweet & sour quince, mint, & vanilla ice cream
Coconut Cream Cake with butter roux crème fraiche icing, pineapple conserves, and bitter chocolate
Meyer Lemon & Yuzu Pie in butter cookie crust, with rum caramel and toasted meringue
Sixty-nine dollars per person
Optional Wine Flight Pairings ∙ Thirty Dollars Per Person