Renowned Nashville chef, Deb Paquette, shares her approach to New Years Day brunch
For more than thirty years, Deb Paquette has been a fixture in Nashville’s ever-growing food scene. A trailblazing chef, dedicated mentor, and community advocate, she’s made her mark on the Music City. Garnering great acclaim throughout her career, Paquette is now the chef and owner of etch and etc. Since her 13-year run at Zola, diners have savored her big, bold flavors and globally-inspired dishes.
Nashville has been home to Paquette and her family for many years. After closing Zola and traveling through beaches of Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Mexico, she was drawn back to Nashville. Designed with a luxurious kitchen, etch opened in 2012 in the heart of downtown and was quickly embraced by locals and tourists alike. etch’s quick success led to the inception of a new concept in Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood with the opening of etc. in 2016. A smaller, more intimate version of etch, the sister restaurant, etc. boasts a swanky vibe with the signature dishes that made Paquette a mainstay in the Music City.
In 2023, Paquette partnered with 4Top Hospitality for the Williamson County expansion of etch, finding a second home in the Factory at Franklin 20 miles south of Nashville. Anticipated to open this winter, Paquette partners with 4Top Hospitality to expand etch as an anchor tenant of the Factory in Franklin, Tennessee.
Here, Paquette shares her approach to New Years Day brunch with a twist on tradition. Paquette makes a delicate and balanced cornbread hushpuppy bread pudding with a black eyed pea whipped cream and mustard green boulis. Incorporating the infamous Southern flavors of black eyed peas, greens, and cornbread for luck, Paquette’s version is elevated with a unique harmony between the timeless ingredients. We suggest serving alongside a hearty main like quiche lorraine or quichelettes with spinach, feta, and prosciutto. And, to top off your New Years Day brunch, pair with a blood orange mimosa or a large batch of Julep’s brunch punch.
New Years Day Hushpuppy Bread Pudding
Serves 4 to 6
3 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
⅛ cup jalapeños, no seeds
2¼ cup buttermilk
2 cups yellow onion, minced
4 sprigs green onion, diced
1 tablespoon salt
½ loaf bakery farm style sourdough bread, cut into half-inch squares
2 cups heavy cream
6 cups milk
6 whole eggs
½ cup caramelized onion, roughly chopped
1 cup raw onion, minced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup poblano peppers, diced
¼ cup oregano
1½ teaspoons chipotle powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sage
¼ cup canola oil
15 cold hushpuppies, cut into fourths
3 cups heavy cream
1 can black eyed peas
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon granulated onion
2 strips bacon, cooked
4 sheets gelatin
1 cup greens, picked and washed
½ cup white onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons canola oil
1½ cup chicken stock
1” piece of jalapeño
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter
For the hushpuppies
For the bread pudding
For the black eyed pea crema
For the mustard green sauce
Make the hushpuppies
- Fork beat eggs and buttermilk.
- Mix all ingredients together with gentleness. Do not over-mix.
- Drop tablespoon size spoonfuls into a 350 fryer or cast iron pan. These should take about 3-5 minutes to cook through. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.
- These can be made days ahead and kept in the fridge or frozen for later use.
Make the bread pudding
- Mix together all ingredients except for the hushpuppies. Let this sit for 35 minutes.
- Fold in the cut hushpuppies. Let sit 10-15 minutes.
- Grease a 9 x 11 casserole pan. It’s best if you line with parchment paper and also grease the paper. Pour in the pudding and pat down evenly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and turn heat to 325 degrees. Cook for 15-20 minutes. It should be medium brown on top. Test the middle of the pan for doneness with a toothpick.
- When ready to serve, turn the pudding upside down on a cutting board. Remove the paper and portion to the size you desire. If you want to freeze leftovers, wrap individually and place in a large Ziplock bag.
Make the black eyed pea crema
- Bloom gelatin in very cold water.
- Combine cream and black eyed peas in a small pot. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes until hot, not boiling.
- Squeeze the water from the gelatin and add to the pot. Stir and then place in a blender.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth.
- Place in a low 2 quart container and chill overnight or until the mixture has become firm. Note: this can stay in the fridge days before serving.
- Place the whip in a stand mixer and whip on high until very thick. This should take about 4-5 minutes. Do not over-whip.
- Place the whip in a piping bag to achieve a lovely rosette for the bread pudding. Alternatively, you can spoon on or place in a bowl on the table. If you are in a warm building, the whip may begin to deflate – but it will still taste great. Reserve a few black eyed peas for garnish.
Make the mustard green sauce
- Add the canola oil to a medium sauté pan and add the onions and garlic. Sweat until onions are soft.
- Add the greens and sauté until they wilt. Do not overcook or your sauce will not stay green.
- Place all ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth.
- by TLP Editors
- by Lena Melentijevic