Southern Lady Magazine

Down in the Pecan Grove

Beneath the outstretched arms of decades-old trees, a lively gathering in the glade finds inspiration and abundance in the annual pecan harvest.

GATHER ON THE GROUNDS

As fall begins to settle over the family farm, it brings along with it previews of crisp air and signature colors at the start of pecan season. Turn this annual time into a true harvest celebration. Young ones especially will enjoy collecting the fallen treasures into baskets and crates, and at day’s end, all can give thanks over a delicious meal centered on the grove’s rewards.

GROVE TO TABLE

Farmhouse polish is the idea behind this easygoing setting that blends earthy pottery, bold floral linens, and sweet vintage details. Underscore the country-side atmosphere with a simple bouquet that feels as if it were plucked from field and garden. Certainly pecans become part of the scene, scattered about the table and piled into hurricanes holding tapers. And they shine in every course from salad to dessert, where instead of peanut butter, pecan butter forms the base of a chess pie made all the more decadent with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream.

HOSTESS HELP

While prepping the Pecan-Crusted Grouper, bake the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash at the same time—they both require the same oven temperature and roasting time. Then cover to keep warm while the grouper bakes at the reduced oven temperature.

Fall Pecan Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 head romaine lettuce, torn
  2. 2 heads endive, torn
  3. 4 cups baby arugula
  4. 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  5. 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
  6. Honey-Dijon Dressing (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. In a large serving bowl or on a platter, gently toss together romaine lettuce, endive, arugula, pears, and pecans. Serve with Honey-Dijon Dressing.
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Honey-Dijon Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  2. 3 tablespoons honey
  3. 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1/3 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together shallot, honey, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
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Pecan-Crusted Grouper
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  3. 3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  4. 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
  7. 8 (6-ounce) skinless grouper fillets
  8. 1/4 cup butter
  9. 1/4 cup olive oil
  10. Brown Butter Sauce (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, red pepper, and black pepper. In another shallow bowl, whisk eggs. In a third shallow bowl, place pecans.
  2. Dredge each grouper fillet in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip grouper in egg to coat; drain excess. Place in pecan mixture, pressing slightly and turning to coat both sides of fillet.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add fillets in batches, and cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes on each side.
  4. Arrange fillets on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with Brown Butter Sauce.
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Brown Butter Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  2. 1 large shallot, minced
  3. 3 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. In a small skillet, place all ingredients. Cook over medium heat until shallots are tender and butter is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon over cooked fish fillets.
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Bread Crumbs
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Ingredients
  1. 4 slices applewood-smoked bacon
  2. 2 1/2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  6. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  8. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove bacon, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
  2. Pour bacon drippings into a jelly-roll pan (do not rinse skillet). Toss Brussels sprouts with bacon drippings and salt.
  3. To the same skillet in which bacon was cooked, add olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs, and cook until golden brown, stirring constantly. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  4. Bake sprouts until tender and browned, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once during baking time. Sprinkle with cooked bacon, bread crumbs, lemon zest, and parsley.
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Sage-Roasted Butternut Squash
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Ingredients
  1. 12 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 6 garlic cloves, cut in half
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  8. Garnish: fresh sage, toasted pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss squash, oil, garlic, chopped sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Place mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan.
  2. Bake until tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once during baking time. Garnish with sage and toasted pecans, if desired.
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Sweet Potato Fritters
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Ingredients
  1. Vegetable oil for frying
  2. 1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
  3. 1 cup self-rising flour
  4. 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  5. 3 tablespoon chopped green onions
  6. 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (fresh or canned)
  7. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  8. 1/4 cup milk
  9. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Into a Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat to 360°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, pecans, green onions, sweet potatoes, egg, milk, and salt; stir until all ingredients are moistened.
  3. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil in batches. Cook each batch until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Serve immediately.
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Pecan Chess Pie with Butter Pecan Ice Cream
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie crust
  2. 1 egg yolk
  3. 1 tablespoon water
  4. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  5. 1/2 cup Pecan Butter (recipe follows)
  6. 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
  7. 4 large eggs
  8. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  9. 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  10. 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  11. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  12. Butter Pecan Ice Cream (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Line a 9-inch pie plate with 1 pie crust, folding edges under. Unroll the remaining pie crust. Using a 1-inch leaf-shaped cutter, cut leaf shapes from crust.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolk and water to combine. Brush edges of pie crust with egg wash, and gently press leaves around edges, overlapping slightly. Chill until ready to use.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together butter and Pecan Butter. Whisk in chopped pecans, eggs, sugar, cornmeal, flour, and vanilla. Pour into prepared pie crust.
  4. Bake until set, 35 to 45 minutes, covering edges of pie with foil if necessary to prevent excess browning. Serve warm or let cool completely. Serve with Butter Pecan Ice Cream.
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Pecan Butter
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups toasted pecans
  2. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  3. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine toasted pecans and salt. Pulse until pecans are finely chopped. With the processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream until combined and smooth (consistency of peanut butter). Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks until ready to use. Stir before using.
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Butter Pecan Ice Cream
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups chopped pecans
  2. 1/4 cup butter
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream*, softened
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. On a jelly-roll pan, place pecans and butter. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until butter is browned and pecans are toasted, 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let cool completely. Fold into vanilla ice cream.
Notes
  1. *We used Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.
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