Country Fried Smoked Eggplant
- Heavily salt eggplant slices and allow them to drain in a colander for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare a smoker to 150-175 degrees. Rinse eggplant, pat dry with a paper towel, and smoke for 1 hour.
- Remove eggplant from smoker and set on a baking sheet in a single layer. Allow to cool.
- Place buttermilk and cornmeal breading in two separate bowls. In a cast-iron skillet, heat peanut oil to 350 degrees. Bread eggplant slices by first dipping them 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.
- Serve eggplant with black pepper mashed potatoes, topped with tomato black pepper cream gravy and 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.
- To potatoes, add butter. Mash until desired consistency is reached (some lumpiness is recommended), then quickly stir in milk until a creamy consistency is reached. (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 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 over medium-high heat, add tomato and cream. Simmer until gravy thickens, about 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. The sauce should be peppery—use more or less to taste. When gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 more minutes, remove from heat.