Sandlapper Society

Summer 2008


Sampling “The New South” at a Greenville Innovation

When Soby’s, with its open kitchen and delicious, stylish takes on traditional southern dishes, opened in Greenville in 1997, it quickly made its mark as one of the city’s most popular restaurants. While locals still flock to the Main Street establishment, most don’t realize they have the weather to thank for the fact that Soby’s owners Carl Sobocinski and David Williams decided to locate the restaurant in Greenville instead of on Hilton Head. “We were at the point that we were looking at sites on Hilton Head, but after two evacuations where we ended up staying in Greenville where Carl was living at the time, we realized that not only was there a lot of potential there, but that putting a restaurant in Greenville would give us a year-round market instead of a seasonal one,” Williams recalls. “After that, it was a no-brainer.”

So many diners request Soby’s recipes that the group decided to publish a cookbook. It contains restaurant favorites as well as a few dishes cooked up specifically for the book. “We had such a good time with the cookbook,” Williams says. “Pulling it together let us relive a lot of great memories.”

Below are two recipes from Soby’s New South Cuisine (Table 301, 2007). Now we can sample what they’re famous for, whether we’ve been there or just wish we had.

Soby’s Crab Cakes

With Rémoulade (Roasted Sweet Corn Maque Choux; serves 12.)

Crab Cakes:
2 lbs. lump crabmeat
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Pinch ground white pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Pinch ground mustard seed
2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup Panko*
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, whole
2 egg whites
* Japanese bread crumbs, available in most supermarkets

2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon shallot, minced
2 tablespoon capers, drained, chopped
6 anchovy filets, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
1/3 cup Creole or whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups mayonnaise

Maque Choux:
6 ears fresh corn on the cob
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup green bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup red onion, 1/4-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
1 cup heavy cream

For the crab cakes: Gently pick through the crab and remove any shells. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined, taking care not to break up the crab any more than necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to two days.

To finish the crab cakes, heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the mix into the hot pan for each crab cake. Flatten with a spatula to approximately 3/4 inch thick. Cook 4-6 cakes at a time (do not overcrowd the pan) until brown on one side. Gently flip and cook on other side until the cakes are heated through.

For the Rémoulade: Cook the shallots, capers and anchovy filets in the olive oil on medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes (do not let the shallots brown). Add the lemon juice and white wine. Simmer until almost all the liquid is gone. Cool the shallot mixture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and whisk in the parsley, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise. Keep the rémoulade covered in the refrigerator up to 14 days.

For the Maque Choux: Carefully shuck the corn, removing as much silk as possible (leave the stem intact). Cut the tip end off the corn to create a flat surface. Holding the stem, stand the corn on the flat tip and using a sharp knife, remove the kernels. With the back of the knife, scrape the cob to release the “milk” into a bowl. Place a sauté pan on high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and sear the corn until lightly browned on one side, then stir. Add the peppers and onions and reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the salt, spices, corn “milk” and heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer until the cream is reduced and the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Keep the maque choux warm in the oven until ready to assemble the dish. The maque choux can be made up to two days ahead, quickly cooled and reheated when needed.

Soby’s White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

(The number one-selling Soby’s menu item.)

Tart Shell:
1 3/4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 lb. butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, chilled
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Pastry Cream:
1 vanilla bean, whole
1 cup milk
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

2 ¼ cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Crème de Banana
1 cup white chocolate pastry cream, chilled
6 ripe bananas
1 11-inch tart shell, baked and cooled
White chocolate, thick piece for garnish
Cocoa powder

For the tart shell: Place the flour and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, add half the cold butter and mix for 30 seconds, then add the remaining butter. Continue to mix until all the butter is cut into the flour and the mix resembles sand. Lightly beat together the egg and the vanilla in a small bowl and add it to the flour and butter. Continue to mix until a dough ball is formed. If the dough does not form a ball after 1 minute, add a few drops of water. Remove the dough from the mixer. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have ready an 11-inch removable-bottom tart mold. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle large enough to fit the mold. Press the dough into the tart mold. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake the crust for 16 to 18 minutes or until it is golden brown and crisp.

For the pastry cream: Pour the milk into a heavy-bottom 2-quart saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a small knife. Add the seeds and pod halves to the milk. Heat the milk until it is about to boil. While the milk is heating, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, salt and eggs until smooth. Temper the egg mixture with one-quarter of the hot milk and then add it back to the pan. Whisk to combine. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring constantly. When the custard thickens, remove it from the heat and whisk in the white chocolate. Pour the pastry cream into a container and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the cream so no skin forms. Refrigerate until completely cool.

For the pie: Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and crème de banana and whip to very stiff peaks. Place the cold pastry cream into another bowl and soften by mixing it with a rubber spatula. Slice the bananas into the pastry cream and stir to combine. Fold in the whipped cream. Mound the filling in the middle of the tart shell and smooth it down to the edge. Carefully cut the pie into 8 or 10 slices before garnishing. Using a vegetable peeler, shave enough white chocolate curls to cover the pastry cream. Dust the top with cocoa powder. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Pairing suggestion:
Moscato d’Asti (Italy). The light, fizzy and fruity Moscato is a lovely match for the lightness of the white chocolate and banana cream.