Flavors of Memphis

Photography by Mark O. Ramirez

In the Bluff City, we have a flavor that is uniquely Memphis. Maybe it is in our water, maybe it is our grit, or maybe it is our culinary soul stew that has been cooking for some 200 years. Like most good recipes, it takes time. Happy bicentennial, Memphis - the flavors are just right!

BLEU Restaurant & Lounge


Bleu Restaurant & Lounge

4 10 ounce Berkshire pork chops
3 cups sweet potato fingerlings
3 cups Swiss chard, sautéed
1 ounce honey mustard sriracha sauce
3 cups Sweet Baby Ray BBQ Sauce
½ cup peach puree
Combine ingredients and stir.

Season both sides of pork chops with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.
While grilling, lightly drizzle with honey mustard sriracha. Cook until a
meat thermometer inserted in the center of the chop reaches 145F. Top pork
chops with Peach BBQ Drizzle or serve on the side. Serve with par-cooked
sweet potato fingerlings and sauteed Swiss chard.

itta bena

BBQ Spaghetti


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 teaspoon garlic
1 small can diced tomato
1 teaspoon tomato puree
½ cup BB King’s BBQ Sauce
½ pound BBQ pulled pork

Place diced tomato and tomato puree in blender till smooth. Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent; then add blended tomato. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 5 minutes; add BBQ sauce and mix completely. Add pulled pork, allow to reheat. Toss in pre-cooked pasta until pasta is fully coated with BBQ sauce.

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Smoked Bacon and Dover Sole Roulade



Cook smoked bacon and reserve the fat.
Remove dover filets from bones. Lay flat and season with salt and pepper. Add the strips of bacon to the center of the dover sole filet. Add ground garlic and roll filet tight. Use a toothpick to hold the filets together. Bake in reserved fat and butter for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Serve immediately.

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at Whole Foods Market, Poplar Avenue

Velvet Elvis French Toast

SALUD! at Whole Foods Market, Poplar Avenue

¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup crunchy or fresh ground peanut butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
4 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 loaf brioche, cut into 8 thick slices
1 cup mini chocolate chips or semi-sweet/dark chocolate
3 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Unsalted butter, as needed
Whipped cream, for garnish
Honey roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish

Combine cream and peanut butter in a microwave safe container. Heat just enough until the peanut butter is thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium, heavy duty saucepan, combine sugar and water, stirring together to ensure sugar is completely moistened. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Use a wet pastry brush to occasionally sweep down any sugar crystals from the side of the pan, but do not stir mixture while it comes to a boil.

Boil over medium-high heat until an amber color develops (about 5-6 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and add the butter all at once. Stir to combine. Add heavy cream mixture, taking care as it will create a lot of hot steam and will bubble up. Transfer to a dish and allow to cool slightly.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts and sugar is dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Add banana slices and cook, turning once, until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Add vanilla and stir. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 225 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper; place a cooling rack in the pan and place in the oven. With a serrated knife, cut a pocket in the bottom of each slice of bread and fill with about 2 tablespoons chopped chocolate. Beat together eggs, milk and vanilla until smooth in a wide plate or cake pan.

 Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat lightly with butter. Once melted and hot, carefully dip the filled bread slices in the egg wash mixture on all sides and place in the hot pan. Griddle on both sides until browned and the
chocolate is warmed through. Transfer finished French toast to the prepared pan in the oven to keep warm as you finish the remaining slices.

To serve, warm up the caramel or bananas if necessary. Drizzle the peanut caramel over the French toast and top with the caramelized bananas. Top with whipped cream and honey roasted peanuts, if desired.

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Shrimp & Grits


1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup tasso ham, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
36 medium shrimp, peeled (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 ¼ cups water, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup fat-free milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked, quick-cooking grits
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup sliced green onions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tasso; sauté 2 minutes or until edges are golden. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add shrimp to pan, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, and cook 3 minutes, turning once. Add ¼ cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove from heat; add butter, stirring to melt. Cover and keep warm.

Bring milk, salt, and 2 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat. Gradually add grits, and cook until thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove grits from heat; add cheese, stirring with a whisk until cheese melts.

Spoon grits evenly onto 6 plates. Top evenly with shrimp, ham mixture, and green onions.

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