Where southwestern Mississippi borders Louisiana Cajun and Creole flavors seep into the cuisine. The food down here just tastes better than other parts of the country.
We might not have the cultural diversity of some of America’s larger cities— most with four times the population of our state— but no one should ever make the mistake of selling us short. Mississippi is a culinary melting pot. Greek immigrants are the forefathers of the restaurants in the capital city of Jackson. Italians fed the Delta in the 20th century. Authentic Vietnamese cuisine is plentiful in cafes along the Gulf Coast where Croatian fishermen have long made the Gulf waters their workplace, true Mexican fare is abundant across the 382 miles of dirt and pine trees located between Memphis Mobile, and Japanese cuisine— using fresh seafood from Mississippi Gulf waters— is thriving in small towns that used to house only meat-and-three diners.
We do love our catfish and grits, but there is so much more to Mississippi and it is here for the tasting.
RSJ’s 21st Century Turnip Greens
1/2 cup bacon, medium dice
1/4 cup shallots, small dice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl brown sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2-3 bunches turnip greens, cleaned, dried and cut into 2” wide strips (about 10 cups cut up)
1 1/2 cups pork stock
1/2 tsp kosher salt
In a large sauce pot, brown the bacon over medium heat. Stir in the shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, brown sugar and crushed red pepper, cook until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add in the turnip greens and mix them well with the bacon mixture. Add the hot pork stock, and cover for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and stir the greens. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent the greens from burning. Add the salt.
Hold warm until ready to serve.