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Mercy Me

Sometimes you just want to be surprised, to have all the decisions made for you, and to trust that no matter what, the end results will be good. At BLU on Folly Beach, just outside Charleston, every third Thursday of the month is “Mercy” night. You come, you sit, you are literally at the mercy of the chef. And not just any chef. Chef Jon Cropf has turned Folly dining on its head with his sophisticated, sustainable, locally sourced, fresh cuisine, which you get to savor against the jawdropping backdrop of Mother Ocean. Giant windows and an ample deck abut the beach. As dinner progresses, you get to watch the sun turn the sky a brilliant pink. The lights start to twinkle out on the pier where locals are no doubt fishing for their supper.

Photo by Sarah Hutchings
Photos by Squire Fox and Sarah Hutchings

At my first “Mercy” this past January, the theme of the evening was grits—coarsely milled with antique equipment and hand-winnowed by Greg Johnsman and his family at Geechie Boy Mill on neighboring Edisto Island. Johnsman himself joined us at the table and chatted about his milling passions as we feasted on five courses, each featuring grits in some fashion. A seafood crudo was accompanied by yellow grit biscotti and a dollop of extra virgin olive oil pudding. A crispy kale salad was topped with grit croutons deliciously poached in duck fat. Lightly cornmeal-encrusted triggerfish was served over creamy yellow and white grits. And the dessert? Best thing I’ve ever tasted: a moist cake made with grit flour and smoked olive oil, along with a “rice pudding” made with, you guessed it, grits. Just a phenomenally delicious meal showcasing the endless interpretability and range of a single ingredient in the hands of a talented chef.

The next “Mercy” dinner will be this February 20th. Mark your calendar – I can assure you that no matter what “mystery ingredient” the chef chooses to showcase that evening, your tastebuds will be delighted.

For those of you who are thinking “grits biscotti”? Let me just tell you I could seriously munch on those with a good coffee anywhere, anytime. Lucky us: here is Chef Cropf’s recipe.

Geechie Boy Grits Biscotti
From Chef Jon Cropf of BLU Restaurant & Bar, Folly Beach, SC

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