Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been on a quest to find the people and places here that make me feel at home. First I found some like-minded people who appreciate good quality food and love to share it. The Food Bloggers of LA group was the first new friends I met and I can’t fully describe the warmth and welcome they’ve extended to me. Stemming from this group I was introduced to the fabulous people and products at Melissa’s Produce. They invite me to gatherings at their corporate test kitchen featuring cookbook authors and sharing fresh and healthy food executed with their top quality produce.
The latest event featured the beautiful and talented chef and cookbook author Whitney Miller of Master Chef fame.I love her motto. “Always be eager to practice hospitality”. In her most recent cookbook, New Southern Table she has taken the beloved food from her Southern family recipes and kicked them up with her own twist. I was impressed by her humility and her knowledge of what makes a recipe great. It’s all about the family table and the legacy from her Grandmother and family.
So fun to meet Whitney in person and taste a few of her recipes prepared by the Melissa’s Produce chef’s. After a delicious lunch, they sent us home with an autographed copy of her latest cookbook and all of the fresh ingredients to create these dishes at home.
This was the first recipe I made. Since I didn’t have any lima beans on hand, I substituted Melissa’s pre-cooked black eyed peas and it worked beautifully. This colorful dish became the base for some wonderful fresh caught salmon our friend gave us from an Oregon fishing trip. It would be great with chicken or pork too, or even as a headliner for vegetarians. Don’t be afraid of the pickled okra. It made the dish.
Creole Succotash Salad – “New Southern Table“
2 c. (12 oz. fresh or frozen lima beans) I used Melissa’s black eyed peas
2 ears of fresh corn (kernels cut off the cobs)
1/4 c. chopped green onions
18 grape tomatoes, cut into halves
1/3 c. pickled okra slices, 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. diced fresh jalapeno pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper
Crumbled feta cheese for garnish
Chopped crisply cooked bacon for garnish
Cook lima beans according to package instructions and drain well, or as I did, use Melissa’s Produce fully cooked black eyed peas.
Place the beans, corn kernels, green onions, grape tomatoes, pickled okra, cilantro and jalapenos in a large bowl.
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl mix together the lemon juice, lime juice and garlic Whisk in the olive oil until emulisfied. Stir in the salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with feta cheese and bacon if using.