Paddle Steamer 'Natchez' on the Mississippi River, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Paddle Steamer 'Natchez' on the Mississippi River, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
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Lunch Under the Trees at Edgewood



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Gerard & Dominique Seafoods - Specialty Seafood Offerings

“Natchez food, it seems to me, is essentially unassuming, based not on
sophisticated or complicated techniques but on great natural abundance.
When you are blessed with what appears to be an inexhaustible supply
of ripening fruits and vegetables, game, river fish, seafood brought up
from the Gulf, and more, making good eating the focus of practically
all occasions seems almost inevitable.”

~ Lee Bailey, in 'Southern Food and Plantation Houses'

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Stanton Hall, Natchez, Mississippi, USA
Stanton Hall, Natchez, MS, USA
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Davies, Ethel
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Longwood Mansion, Natchez, Mississippi
Longwood Mansion, Natchez, Mississippi
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Map Depicting Plantations on the Mississippi River from Natchez to New Orleans, 1858
Map Depicting Plantations
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The Mississippi Side-Wheeler Natchez, c.1870
The Mississippi Side-Wheeler Natchez, c.1870
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Lunch Under the Trees at Edgewood

Lee Bailey's Southern Food and
Plantation Houses: Favorite Natchez Recipes
by Lee Bailey and the [Natchez, MS] Pilgrimage Garden Club,
1990, Clarkson N. Potter


“Blooming shrubs and neatly trimmed stands of trees suddenly give way to green open vistas on the long, winding drive up to Edgewood [Natchez, MS]. This is
even before you glimpse the house, all pink stucco and white trim, standing on
a small rise. If you turn when you reach the front entrance, you’ll see a great
swath of lawn rolling in the direction from which you have just come.
Each time you visit there, gardeners are busy. This is a place whose owners obviously love their special and serene landscape.
So, as beautiful as the interior of Edgewood was, we just couldn’t resist setting
up a table for our lunch in the center of a growth of towering cedar trees. The
day was warm, but there was a constant current of air moving the limbs to
cool us.
As you see, we started off with a smooth carrot and sweet red pepper soup. I like
it served slightly chilled, but it is also very good at room temperature – and on
this day it got that way fast.
Soup was followed by the star of the meal, a seafood salad made from typical Natchez ingredients: spicy boiled shrimp, crabmeat, and crawfish tails. Everyone down here is partial to seafood and their salads are delicious; but what I think
made this particular version so tasty was that the shrimp were boiled in that fiery mix of herbs and spices so favored in the Gulf states. After cooking, the shrimp
were added to the onions and marinated overnight.
The crabmeat one buys in Natchez is backfin lump, which is precooked but unseasoned – just as well, because the shrimp is so potent it can stand a milder ingredient for balance. And of course the ubiquitous crawfish tails have a very strong and distinctive flavor no matter how they are prepared.
Along with the salad were fresh bread sticks with Tabasco butter. I have a real weakness for this butter and like it on almost anything.
Finally, dessert was melon with blueberry sauce. Melons are particularly sweet
here, where summers are so hot. It’s said that the hotter the weather, the sweeter
the melon – one of nature’s thoughtful compensations.”


Carrot and Sweet Red Pepper Soup
Natchez Seafood Salad
Bread Sticks with Tabasco Butter
Melon with Blueberry Sauce
Iced Tea [the house wine of the South]
or Wine, Coffee



Carrot and Sweet Red Pepper Soup

“For a slightly heartier soup on another occasion, you might
try adding cooked shrimp and serving it warm.”

6 cups grated carrots
3 cups milk
2 sprigs fresh savory
6 cups homemade or canned chicken stock
4 large sweet red peppers
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onions
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly
ground black pepper, or to taste
Sour cream, plain yogurt, or
crème fraîche, for garnish

Combine the carrots, milk, 1 savory sprig, and half the chicken stock
in a saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat.
Meanwhile, roast peppers under broiler, turning occasionally, until
skins blacken. Set aside in a closed paper bag.
Strain the carrots from milk and set aside, reserving liquid. Peel and
seed peppers. Chop coarsely and heat in remaining stock along with
onions and remaining savory sprig. Simmer rapidly over high heat for
about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add reserved carrots
and cooking liquid, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Heat for 5
minutes. Do not boil.
Allow to cool, then purée in batches. Serve hot or cold, garnished
or plain. Serves 8 to 10


Natchez Seafood Salad

“You could add or substitute scallops or lobster in this recipe if you live in
an area where they are plentiful. Should you do this, though, remember to
cook and marinate one of the ingredients as the shrimp are here.”

6 quarts water
1/2 cup salt
4 fluid ounces Zatarain’s Crab Boil
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
6 lemons, halved
2 medium onions, quartered
3/4 pound fresh medium shrimp

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup German Riesling wine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet red or Vidalia onions

1 pound peeled crawfish tails
3 lemons
Salt to taste

Salad Assembly
1 pint fresh backfin lump crabmeat, carefully picked over
Capers, grated hard-boiled egg, minced green onion tops,
or minced chives, for garnish
Homemade mayonnaise

To cook the shrimp, boil the water, spices, lemons, and onions for 30 minutes. This is a strong concoction so I advise not only turning on the
vent but vacating the kitchen until the 30 minutes are up. People here
often do this in the yard. Add the shrimp and cover the pot. Remove
from heat immediately. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pour shrimp
into a colander and cover with ice to stop the cooking. Peel and devein
when cool.
To make the marinade, purée vinegar, wine, basil, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor or blender/ Place shrimp in a
bowl and toss with chopped onions. Pour marinade over all and cover. Refrigerate overnight.
To steam the crawfish tails, fill the bottom of a small steamer with water.
Cut lemons in half and add to water. Place crawfish tails in the top of the
steamer and cover. Bring to a boil and steam for 10 minutes. Cool.
To assemble the salad, drain marinade from shrimp and toss shrimp with crawfish and crabmeat. You can also add a few capers and, if you like,
grated hard-boiled egg and minced green onion tops or chives on top.
Serve with mayonnaise on the side. Serves approximately 8.


Bread Sticks with Tabasco Butter

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt plus 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon light oil, such as safflower or sunflower oil
Tabasco butter (recipe follows)

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine 1 1/2 cups of the
flour with the yeast, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. With machine running,
add water and oil. Add the balance of the flour and process until mixture forms a ball.
Divide dough into 4 portions and each of these into 10 balls. Form each
into a “rope” by rolling between hands. Coat baking sheets with cooking
spray and arrange ropes evenly, leaving about 1/2 inch between. Cover
with a lightly dampened cloth. Allow to rise in a warm place for 50
minutes. These will not double in bulk, but will expand.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees [F]. Sprinkle ropes with remaining
teaspoon of salt [preferably coarse salt] and bake for 25 minutes.
Serve with Tabasco butter. Makes about 40 sticks.

Tabasco Butter

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

Whip the butter with a wire whisk or hand mixer until fluffy, adding
Tabasco as you go along. Scrape into a small crock. Refrigerate until
ready to use. Makes 1 cup.


Melon with Blueberry Sauce

“We call for honeydew melon here because it is so plentiful in
Natchez, however you can substitute any melon that’s ripe.”

2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon vodka
Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
1 very large honeydew melon, peeled, seeded,
and cut into medium-thin slices

Place the berries, sugar, lemon juice, vodka and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook slowly for
20 minutes. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Arrange the melon slices on individual plates and put a line of sauce
down the middle of each. Serves 8.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Beautiful, Bounteous Blueberries
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
Mouthwatering Melons
Seafood-Stuffed Avocado Salad
w/ Creamy Artichoke Dressing

Shrimp and Potato Salad
Shrimp, Zucchini, and
Red Pepper Bisque

More from Lee Bailey:
Angel Biscuits
Black Bean and Macaroni Soup
Butterscotch Pecan Cookies
Crab with Ravigote Sauce
Endive Salads
Jalapeño Corn Muffins
New Orleans Oyster Shooters
Shrimp Maque Choux Salad
Spice Applesauce Cake

More Lagniappe Recipes!
Summer Holiday Recipes!
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Recipe Archives Index
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