Country Fried Smoked Eggplant
- Heavily salt eggplant slices and allow to drain in a colander for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare a smoker at 150–175 degrees.
- Rinse eggplant, pat dry with a paper towel, and place on smoker for 1 hour.
- Remove eggplant from smoker and set on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cool.
- Place buttermilk and cornmeal breading in 2 separate bowls.
- Heat peanut oil in a skillet to 350 degrees.
- Bread eggplant slices by first dipping in buttermilk, then in breading.
- Working in batches, carefully place breaded eggplant slices in hot peanut oil and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- To serve, place eggplant atop the black pepper mashed potatoes. Spoon the tomato black pepper cream gravy over eggplant and top with lima bean and chow chow succotash.
Black Pepper Mashed Potatoes
- Place cubed potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and season with salt. Boil until potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain potatoes, return to pot, and allow heat of the pot to dry potatoes for 1 minute.
- Add butter and mash with a masher. When desired consistency is reached (some lumpiness is recommended), quickly stir in milk until a creamy consistency is reached. (Note: This may take slightly more or less milk, depending on size and starch level of potatoes.)
- Season with salt to taste and fold in freshly ground black pepper. There should be a slight burn from the pepper—use more or less to your taste.
Lima Bean and Chow Chow Succotash
- Blanch lima beans in a pot of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse to cool beans.
- Heat a large skillet over medium and add butter. Let butter melt, but do not brown.
- Add lima beans, chow chow, and thyme. Sauté for 2–3 minutes, until hot. Season to taste.
- Combine cauliflower, cabbage, onion, and pepper in a bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt and refrigerate overnight.
- Drain vegetables and discard liquid.
- In a medium saucepan, combine garlic, mustard, coriander, red pepper, ginger, turmeric, sugar, water, vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil.
- Place vegetables in a bowl or sturdy plastic container and pour boiling liquid over them. Place a plate over vegetables and allow to cool. Refrigerate for 3 hours before using.
Tomato Black Pepper Cream Gravy
- Core tomato, cut into wedges, and place in blender to purée.
- In a medium skillet, add tomato and cream.
- Simmer over medium-high heat until gravy thickens, about 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. The sauce should be peppery—use more or less to your taste. When gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 more minutes, remove from heat and use to finish the Country Fried Smoked Eggplant.