As 2013 draws to a close, we’re apt to reflect upon 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 heirloom receipts are 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 the spirit of the dinner perfectly – for the fisth year, we start with a reimagined 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.
The tasting menu includes fish, shellfish, and meat, however there is a convenient option for the fish and and meat courses to make a vegetable tasting menu if you prefer.
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
December 31, 2013 5 p.m. – midnight
A Gullah Good Luck Charm
Sea Island Red Pea “Cappuccino” Carolina gold rice stick, chopped collards, bacon froth
Heirloom Purple Barley Risotto cauliflower puree, leeks, roasted black trumpet mushrooms
Awendaw Spoonbread winter truffles and candied quince butter
Roasted Hearts of Palm petite mustard greens, satsuma, black rice peas, cracked benne brittle
Cast Iron-Seared Shareholders’ Alliance Red Grouper brown butter roasted plantains, pineapple, smoked chicory, kumquat chutney
Henry Moore Corn Hominy & Goat Cheese Love Letters crispy fried kale, buttered pecans, hidalgo pepper sauce, quince honey
Wood-grilled New York Strip Crawfish Newburg, fire-roasted mustard greens,
rose finn potato, Marchand-du-vin
Salsify “Oysters” ca. 1840 absinthe-scented sea island benne bisque,
braised little gem lettuce, Sally Lunn toast
Red Velvet Cake cream cheese semifreddo, cocoa nib brittle, vanilla bean and orange juice sabayon
Meyer Lemon Tart salted sorghum ice cream, torn meringue, baby coconut, crystallized coffee
Seventy-five dollars per person
Beverage pairings, thirty dollars
For reservations, call 773-275-5725