Celebrate Pecan Month With Sweet and Savory Dishes

 

Pecan Grove

Pecan Grove

Say “pecans” and most people think of pies and other delicious desserts. But the rich flavor of the pecan makes it ideal for savory dishes, too. And since April is National Pecan Month, it’s the perfect time to enjoy these versatile nuts!

Pecan trees are related to hickory trees and grow native in many areas of the south eastern states. Picking up the ripe nuts before squirrels do is the hard part. But in case the squirrels are faster than you, pecans are readily available whole or already cracked in the store. (Note: Wild pecans are harder to crack than the paper shell nuts that are sold commercially – in either case, a good nutcracker will be your best friend.)

Pecan Crusted Catfish with Maple Orange Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. Vegetable oil, for frying
  2. 1 1/3 to 2 pounds catfish filets
  3. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 2 eggs, beaten well, with a splash of milk
  6. 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  7. 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  8. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated or ground
  9. 1 orange, zested (juice is used in dressing)
  10. Dressing – I serve it on the side so family and friends can put on the amount they choose
  11. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  12. 1/4 cup favorite barbecue sauce
  13. 1 navel orange, juiced
  14. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  15. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  16. Your family's favorite green salad ingredients
Instructions
  1. Using a paper towel, blot fish filets dry.
  2. Season catfish with salt and pepper.
  3. Set out 3 shallow dishes. Place flour in 1 dish, eggs beaten with water or milk in a second. In the third dish, combine bread crumbs with ground pecans, nutmeg and orange zest.
  4. Coat filets in batches in flour, then egg, then bread crumb mixture.
  5. Fry filets in small batches 6 to 7 minutes.
  6. Drain catfish on paper towels.
  7. Combine maple syrup, barbecue sauce and orange juice in a bowl.
  8. Whisk in oil and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Combine green salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and serve along with fish (dressing on the side.)
Notes
  1. Chicken or tilapia filets are great substitutes in place of catfish.
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/

Peach-Pecan Cobbler
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 cup water
  5. 4 1/2 cups fresh or frozen sliced, peeled peaches (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  6. 1 cup self-rising flour
  7. 1 cup sugar
  8. 1/4 cup shortening
  9. 1/3 Tablespoon buttermilk
  10. 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  11. 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  12. 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Stir in water. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  2. Add peaches and return to boiling. Reduce heat and cook 2 minutes more. Keep warm over very low heat.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and the 1 teaspoon sugar.
  4. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Add buttermilk; stir until moistened.
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough gently 10 to 12 strokes.
  7. Roll out into a 9x6-inch rectangle.
  8. Combine the melted butter and brown sugar. Spread over the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge.
  9. Sprinkle the pecans evenly over all.
  10. Roll up the dough jelly-roll-style, starting with a short side. Cut crosswise into six 1-inch pieces.
  11. Pour hot peach mixture into an 8x8x2-inch (2-quart square) baking dish. Place pecan rolls on top.
  12. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Cool for about 30 minutes and serve warm (with ice cream, of course).
Notes
  1. Top this luscious cobbler with a scoop of your favorite ice cream - butter pecan or another flavor!
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/
Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream
This was my Mommy’s favorite ice cream; I think of her every time I have it.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 chopped pecans
  2. 1 Tablespoon butter
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs, beaten
  5. 1 ½ cups half and half
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 1 vanilla bean seed - save the pod for flavoring sugar (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small skillet over low heat, cook pecans in butter until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring constantly, about 3-5 minutes (watch out, they will burn easily).
  2. Remove them from skillet and set aside
  3. Whisk eggs in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine brown sugar and half and half in a sauce pan and mix well. Bring brown sugar mixture to a boil - over low heat, then remove from heat.
  5. Place a small amount of the brown sugar mixture into eggs and blend, whisking as you do.
  6. When egg mixture is warm whisk egg mixture into brown sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
  7. Over low heat cook the custard, stirring occasionally until the custard will coat the back of a spoon. The custard mixture is ready when you can draw your finger down the back of the coated spoon and see a clear line.
  8. Remove custard from heat and stir in cream, vanilla, vanilla bean, and pecans.
  9. Allow custard to cool, then pour into ice cream maker and churn, following the manufacturer’s directions.
Notes
  1. Making homemade ice cream can seem daunting, but it is so worth it. I made it the first couple times with my Mom who was familiar with the steps of making a custard. Offering homemade ice cream is a good way to get a hand with the cranking.
Lehman's Country Life http://blog.lehmans.com/

Our Amish-made ice cream freezers have leak-proof fiberglass tubs - a vast improvement over traditional wooden tubs. At Lehmans.com.

Our Amish-made ice cream freezers have leak-proof fiberglass tubs – a vast improvement over traditional wooden tubs. At Lehmans.com.

 

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.