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Monday, 02 October 2017 21:53

Savor the Fall Season

Growing up, fall meant soccer games and collecting acorns. Starting out in the restaurant business, fall smelled like the burning hickory of the oven at Bottega and working football weekends in Birmingham AL. Professionally, fall was the memorable season when my first restaurant opened. During the fall of 2000, a perfect mix of quality culinary training and joyful disorganization pushed local, seasonal fall vegetables into the market. Well ahead of the national curve, long before there were “locavores” or “foodies,” Chattanooga became a place where it was OK to serve asparagus in October, but savvy diners knew better. After all, it’s the distinct seasons and change in the weather that helps to make Chattanooga so nice, and part of how we celebrate that is with the food we eat.chattanooga restaurant fall menu

At Public House, we have always prided ourselves in following each season with the food we serve. While modern growing techniques and transportation make it possible to serve a trendy item like brussels sprouts all year, we think it’s important to slow down and savor each season and celebrate the produce that defines it. Each fall, for a brief time, we reintroduce fall squash, a fall bean and fried green tomatoes. Tomatoes, freshly plucked from the vine before they ripen so they do not rot, are breaded, fried and served with a classic, Mississippi “comeback” sauce. Butternut squash, which is abundant from our local farmers, is carefully roasted with rosemary and thyme and then mashed with a drizzle of sweet honey. This fall, we are introducing slow-cooked, cranberry beans paired with smoky bacon and a hint of spice. Until the first frost tells us it is time to move to the winter crop, we celebrate the cool in the air, football on Saturdays, and a menu that indicates it is fall.

Public House Chattanooga Stone Ground GritsIf you read the food section of the Times Free Press this week and are thinking it's OK to use instant grits, here is some sage advice from my mentor and the man Garden & Gun magazine calls the Godfather of Southern Cuisine:

"Stone-ground grits from old fashioned mills that use locally grown, organic corn has significant texture and vivid corn flavor.  It bears no relation to the "quick" grits served in greasy spoons throughout the country.  If your local grocer doesn't carry stone ground grits, check your local health food store." - Frank Stitt's Southern Table, p.22, Artisan, 2004

If you have already used your tastebuds to figure out what a big difference there is between stone-ground and instant grits, here is our recipe for how to make classic creamy grits.  If you haven't tasted the difference for yourself, come in and try one of the grits dishes on our menu!

Public House Creamy Grits
Serves 4-6 people

Over medium heat bring: 2 quarts Milk and 1 cup Butter to a simmer.
Add: ¾ cup Stone-ground White Cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and whisk frequently.
Cook cornmeal for about 45 minutes adding more milk as needed and constantly stirring.

To finish add: ¼ cup Parmesan Reggiano and season to taste with Salt & Pepper.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Public House Chattanooga TN scallop recipeWe are so excited that Chatter Magazine featured our recipe for Sauteed Sea Scallops with Summer Succotash and Basil in their September 2013 issue! This recipe is Nathan Lindley's contribution to their spread of Sustainable Samplings recipes to celebrate Serve & Protect week. This was the third annual event to promote more sustainable seafood harvesting and farming practices and education area consumers in how to conserve our fragile seafood resources.

The 2013 Serve and Protect week culiminated in a Cast Iron Cookoff between local chefs, including our own Michael Lindley, Matt Marcus (the 2012 Cast Iron Cookoff Champion), Nick Goeller of 212 Market, John Palacio of Porter’s Steakhouse, and Mac Casteel of Café on the Corner. Michael Lindley won first place tied with Matt Marcus with truly spectacular dishes featuring sustainably caught Gulf shrimp.

The recipe featured in Chatter Magazine features sustainably caught Scallops. Nathan Lindley advises using fresh, never-frozen scallops. Look for scallops from George’s Bank or New Bedford, Massachusetts for conservation-friendly origins. He also advices that “This dish works best when corn is at peak season and local peas or butter beans are available.” In other words, this is the perfect summer and early fall dish.



Estimate 4-6 scallops for each entrée.


Pat scallops dry with a paper towel.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Prepare a pan with a light coating of vegetable oil (avoid olive oil as it will burn at high heat).
Heat the pan at high heat until the oil shimmers. Place the scallops in the pan. Using your fingers or tongs, slide the scallops gently in the pan to allow a crust to form and to prevent sticking.
When the side of the scallop in the pan has developed a light crust, turn the scallop over. Add one spoonful of butter. When the butter has melted, turn off the heat on the pan and allow the scallops to sit with no heat to finish cooking (don’t over cook them).



1 medium yellow onion
2 tbsp bacon fat (or substitute olive oil)
6 ears of corn, shucked and removed from the cob
2 cups fresh laday peas or butter means (fresh or highest quality frozen)
1-2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
One tomato, seeded and cut into small cubes
2 tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper
Fresh basil, chiffonade (finely sliced into ribbons)


Thinly slice onion.
Add two tablespoons bacon fat to a pan and heat on medium (you may substitute olive oil for bacon, but you will lose some of the smokiness).
Add the onion and sauté until fully cooked. Add the corn and coat in oil from pan. Add the field peas and one cup chicken stock.
Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Check corn and peas for desired doneness. If you would like the peas or corn cooked more, add more chicken stock and return to heat. If cooked to your liking, move to next step.
Season with salt and pepper. Add butter and coat completely.

To Plate:

Place succotash in bowl or on rimmed plate. Allow some of the succotash liquid to form a sauce for the dish. Sprinkle with tomatoes. Place scallops on top of succotash. Garnish plate with basil chiffonade.

Jackie Errico

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Public House | 1110 Market St. Chattanooga, TN 37402 | 423.266.3366
Public House, a downtown Chattanooga restaurant

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