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Southern comfort food dishes with an Italian twist

Lara Lyn Carter is a self-taught chef who is always bringing new twists to classic recipes. The Emmy Award-winning chef and cookbook author recently dropped by our kitchen to share some of her best southern comfort food dishes.

Southern Pecan Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Georgia Olive Farm Olive Oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. In a food processor, blend basil, pecans, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the food processor still running, add olive oil to obtain a smooth but still thick consistency. Transfer mixture to a bowl and blend in cheese. This can be made a day ahead.  
  2. Split your favourite bread, spread with pesto and toast under the broiler until warm and cheese is golden. You can also use this pesto with pasta, chicken, fish, or vegetables. With pesto the possibilities are endless!

Sweet Corn and Bacon Bruschetta
  • 16 slices French bread - slightly grilled
  • Sage butter (recipe follows)
  • 4 ears sweet corn - kernels removed
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes - finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 16 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled

  1. In a large skillet, melt 1 and 1/2 tbsp. of sage butter over medium-high heat. Add the corn to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cream, salt and pepper to the corn and cook for an additional 4 minutes stirring often. Spread the sage butter onto the grilled bread slices. Top the bread with a tbsp. of the corn and sprinkle with the bacon.

Sage butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sage roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  1. Melt butter over medium heat until bubbly. Reduce heat and add sage. Allow sage and butter to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove the butter from heat and stir in the salt. Allow the butter to cool slightly, remove the sage and pour into a small bowl.