Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro
Yield
6 servings

This recipe is a lightened interpretation of Hastings' summer staple. For his original recipe, check out Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook. Use whatever varieties of colorful tomatoes you find at your local market. Hastings likes to use red beefsteak, yellow globe, and green zebra tomatoes. Cherokee purple tomatoes add unique flavor and color to the plate, if you can find them. Outside of the South, black-eyed peas are a fine sub for lady peas. Okra is a regional delicacy that's optional in this dish. If you omit it from the recipe, the salad is a mere 207 calories with 3.6 grams saturated fat and 323 milligrams sodium.

How to Make It

Step 1

Sprinkle cut sides of tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt; drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar. Set aside.

Step 2

Combine peas, ham hock, onion, and thyme in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; simmer 15 minutes or until peas are just tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; drain and cool. Discard ham hock, onion, and thyme.

Step 3

Clip a candy/fry thermometer onto the side of a large skillet; add 2 cups peanut oil to pan. Heat peanut oil to 350°. Place 1/4 cup buttermilk in a shallow dish. Combine flour, cornmeal, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish, stirring well. Dip okra in buttermilk; dredge in flour mixture. Place okra in hot oil; fry 2 minutes or until golden, making sure oil temperature remains at 350°. Remove okra using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

Step 4

Divide tomato slices evenly among 6 plates; top each serving evenly with cherry tomatoes. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons peas over each tomato stack. Arrange 5 pieces fried okra on each serving; sprinkle evenly with bacon.

Step 5

Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk, chives, and garlic in a small bowl. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and juice; stir well with a whisk. Gradually add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, while whisking vigorously. Stir in crème fraîche. Drizzle 2 tablespoons dressing mixture over each serving; top with 1 tablespoon basil.

Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Alabama

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