In March of 1865, Nat Fuller hosted a dinner in Charleston at his renowned restaurant, The Bachelor’s Retreat, that has come to signify the end of the Civil War and the beginning of a new civil order. What makes this dinner, or Fuller’s Feast as it has been nicknamed, unique is that Fuller was a former slave and his guests were made up of white old-Charleston society as well as African-American freedmen. It marked the first time that blacks and whites sat together socially at the table.
To commemorate Fuller’s Feast, dinners will be held in Charleston and Columbia on Sunday, April 19, with menus that will include recipes from Fuller’s repertoire. The Fuller’s Feasts have been organized by the Nat Fuller Feast Committee (Todd Shaw, director, African-American Studies, USC; Akif Aydin, president, Atlantic Institute of South Carolina; Dan Koon, Columbia Luncheon Club; James T. McLawhorn Jr., president, Columbia Urban League; Glenn Hare, Creative Services, USC; Sandra Sims, The Friendly Caterer; Shirley Mills, director, Government and Community Relations, USC; Henri E. Baskins, executive director, and Lynn Hutto, community relations manager, Greater Columbia Community Relations Council; Robert Brinkmeyer, director, Institute for Southern Studies; and Elaine Brophy and Chef Corey Green Sodexo, USC), in partnership with the Institute for Southern Studies and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.
Below are the recipes from the Columbia menu. The hope of the organizers is that readers prepare the recipes in celebration of this historic event.
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Crab and Cabbage Cannelloni with Lemon-Parsley Gelee and Red Pepper Coulis
1 lb. of lump crab
¼ cup mayo
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 sheets of neutral gelatin
2 fresh lemons
1 cup of parsley
1 roasted red pepper
3 leaves of savoy cabbage
Combine the crab, mayo, cilantro, fold gently, blanch cabbage for 30 seconds and refresh in ice water. Place crab meat in cabbage leaves and roll. For the gelee, bloom sheets in cold water, heat the juice of two lemons, add the gelatin and parsley and let cool. For the pepper, roast on high heat, and puree set aside.
Terrine de Foies de Volaille (Chicken Liver Pate)
8 oz. chicken livers, cleaned
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat or unsalted butter
½ medium yellow onion, minced
1½ tablespoons cognac or brandy
2 hard-boiled eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toast points, for serving
Bring livers and stock to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking liquid; transfer to a food processor. Heat fat in a 10-inch skillet over high heat, and add onion; cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to food processor; add reserved cooking liquid, cognac, eggs, salt, and pepper; puree. Serve with toast.
Manchester Farms Stuffed Quail
8 (3 1/2 ounce) boned quail
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds assorted mushrooms, such as button, shiitake, wood ear, and chanterelles, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup packed grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
For quail: Lay the quail skin side down on a baking sheet and season lightly with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning. Insert 1 portion of the mushroom stuffing into the cavity of each quail and wrap the bird around it. Replace each bird on the baking sheet, breast side up. Brush the butter over the quails and season with the remaining tablespoon of Creole seasoning. Roast until the birds are tender and golden brown, 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve two quails per person.
Mushroom Stuffing: Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are wilted and begin to caramelize. Add the wine and cook, stirring to deglaze the pan and until the liquid has almost all evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the mushrooms to the bowl of a food processor. Add the cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, basil and oregano, and process on high speed to a thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and divide into eight equal portions. With your hands, pack each portion into a tight ball. Set aside until ready to stuff the quail. Yield: about 3 cups.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 lb. rutabagas, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced thyme leaves
2 cups (about 4 oz.) grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat butter and oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook until smooth, about 1 minute. Add milk and cream, and stir until smooth. Add potatoes, rutabagas, and 2 tsp. thyme, and bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are slightly tender and broken apart, about 5 minutes. Stir in half the cheese and salt and pepper, and then transfer to a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish; top with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining thyme before serving.
Apple Jelly Cake with Coconut Mousse
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups apple jelly or enough for three layers
Poached apples (optional, see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8-inch round cake pans (or butter them, line the bottoms with parchment paper and then butter the paper). In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the sugar and beat well, until creamy. Add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternately with the milk. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake about 25 minutes, until cakes are golden on top and spring back when lightly touched in the center. Cool on racks for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool, upright, until completely cool.
To assemble the cake: Use 1/2 cup jelly between each layer and on top. Do not cover sides. Top with poached apples, if desired.
For poached apples
2 large Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups boiling-hot water
1/2 pound unsweetened dried coconut (2 3/4 cups)
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
About 1/4 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1/4-ounce packages)
1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream
4 large egg whites
Special equipment : cheesecloth
Garnish: toasted sweetened flaked coconut; fresh lime zest
Pour boiling-hot water over dried coconut in a blender, then blend, scraping down sides as necessary, until combined well, about 30 seconds (use caution when blending hot liquids). Cool in blender until cool enough to handle. Line a large fine-mesh sieve with several layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour coconut mixture into lined sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup coconut milk in a large bowl. Pour remaining coconut milk into a 1-cup glass measure and add enough whole milk to bring total to 1 cup, then transfer to a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over milk mixture in saucepan and let stand one minute to soften, then heat over moderate heat, whisking occasionally, until gelatin is dissolved (do not let boil). Whisk into sweetened condensed milk mixture in large bowl until combined. Quick-chill by putting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until mixture is the consistency of raw egg whites, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from ice bath. Beat cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks, then fold cream into coconut mixture gently but thoroughly. Using cleaned beaters, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks, then fold into coconut mixture gently but thoroughly. Chill, covered, until set, about one hour.
The (Columbia) Nat Fuller Feast
Dishes listed in order of serving:
Crab and Cabbage Cannelloni, with lemon-parsley gelee and red pepper coulis
Terrine de Foies de Volaille (Chicken liver pate), green pea-mint puree, crispy bacon, citrus compote, served with chard-potato bread
Manchester Farms Quail, stuffed with wild mushroom and artichoke, served with sweet potato-rutabaga gratin and braised wild greens and port wine sauce
Red Beetroot Granite, brunoise of golden beet and tarragon syrup
Roasted Lowcountry Cobia, oyster risotto, fried spinach and grapefruit vinaigrette
Apple Jelly Cake, spiced cider reduction, caramelized apple rounds and served with coconut mousse and crisp apple cookie