Brunch It Up | Salud Cooking School

This July we chose to do a little culinary ‘stay-cation’ and take three classes from the Salud Cooking School at Whole Foods Charlotte.


First up… Brunch It Up, where we learned about the culinary side of Charleston, South Carolina. Our instructors for the days were Chefs Whitney Davis & Michael Harrington.

Our menu for the day:

Chilled Pea Soup

Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce

Shrimp and Grits

Buttermilk Chess Pie

After a brief intro, we divided up into two teams, and started working on the Buttermilk Chess Pie first. (Because who doesn’t like dessert!)

Finished product...
Finished product…

Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie with Whipped Cream


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk

Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add butter, pulse until pea-size pieces of butter form. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk – a little at a time. Pulse until moist clumps form, adding more buttermilk by tablespoons if too dry. Form into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to a 14″ round. Transfer to 9″ pie pan. Gently press onto bottom and up sides of pan. Trim dough, leaving a 1″ overhang; tuck overhang under. Crimp edges decoratively. Line with parchment paper or foil. Fill with pie weighs or dried beans. Bake crust until edges begin to brown, 30-35 minutes. Remove paper and weights and allow to cool.


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Whisk eggs and remaining 6 ingredients in a large bowl (mixture may looked curdled.) Slowly whisk in dry ingredients. Pour filling into cooled crust and bake until custard is set around edges but jiggles in center, 60-75 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack. Serve with whipped cream.

Next up… Chilled Pea Soup.

Finished product.
Finished product.

Chilled Pea Soup


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen peas
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped chives

Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion and cook over medium-low heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the peas are tender. (Frozen peas will take only 3 minutes.) Off the heat, add the mint, salt, and pepper.

Puree the soup in batches: place 1 cup of soup in a blender, place the lid on top, and puree on low speed. With the blender still running, open the vent hole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full. Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed. Whisk in the creme fraiche and chives and taste for seasoning. Serve with brioche croutons.

Brioche Croutons

  • 1 loaf brioche, day old if possible, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat olive oil and butter in a very large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the bread cubes and sauté until oil is absorbed and the croutons are golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Next up, the traditional Southern Classic… Shrimp and Grits.


My special 'Shrimp & Grits.'
My special ‘Shrimp & Grits.’

Chef Harrington, made some special ‘Shrimp and Grits’ for me without all the dairy. Best shrimp I’ve ever had in my life. Although I’ve lived in the South for more than half my life, and I’m still not sure about the idea of grits…

Shrimp and Grits

The Grits:

  • 2 cup stone ground grits
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a medium size saucepan. Add grits and stir thoroughly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir grits frequently to prevent sticking. If grits seem dry during cooking, add a little emote water. When grits are done, add butter and cream. Taste and add more salt if needed.

The Shrimp:

  • 1 1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp diced onion
  • 8 ounces good quality country ham, diced
  • 2 cups shrimp stock
  • 2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a large saute pan. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add country ham and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add stock and stir. Deglaze pan by loosening and bits on sides and bottom of pan. Allow to boil, then lower heat. Let sauce reduce by half. Add cream. Reduce the sauce briefly again. Add shrimp, turn over in sauce, cooking until just pink. (Do not overcook the shrimp.) Add chives, salt and pepper.

Last but not least, Fried Green Tomatoes

Note: Always make fried items last, as you want to eat them right away. They’ll be soggy otherwise.

Finished product.
Finished product.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade Sauce


  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 10 dashed hot sauce
  • 2 green tomatoes, 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 ounce Creole mustard
  • 1/2 ounce horseradish
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • Shredded lettuce, for serving

For the tomatoes: Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or cast iron skillet to 350 degrees F.

Beat the eggs, milk and hot sauce in a shallow dish. Put the flour and breadcrumbs in 2 separate shallow dishes. Dip the tomato slices in the flour, then the egg wash, and then the breadcrumbs. Transfer to the oil and fry until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the sauce: Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.

To serve: Line a plate with shredded lettuce. Add 2 slices fried green tomatoes. Serve with a side of remoulade sauce.

Wonderful instructors, awesome class!



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