“Food is fun,” says Chef Eric Fulkerson. “It’s an art.”
Serving as Chef de Cuisine
at Reynolds Plantation
in Greensboro, Ga., he devotes his skills to ensuring there are healthier options on the Plantation’s restaurants’
menus. Utilizing as much as he can from local farmers markets and the property’s ever-growing herb garden, he stresses he uses what’s in season for his dishes.
“Everyone thinks healthy food doesn’t taste good,” he says. “I take easy, simple foods and represent the flavors naturally.”
The property’s restaurants make their own dressing, and you won’t see margarine or the like being used, either.
“We do use bacon fat, sausage fat and duck fat for different purposes. Fat is flavor, and it’s a necessity for a diet. Of course, you need to have a good balance of it. We source all of our fats from natural sources.”
Fulkerson expands on his culinary beliefs during his cooking class that he conducts on the second Thursday of each month for Reynolds Plantation members. The recipes he introduces reflect his lifestyle, a gluten-free (he points out the restaurants are 80 percent gluten-free) and a dairy-free lifestyle.
“This is what works for me and it may not work everyone. However, I hope to inspire others by educating them on the different options out there.”
Yield: Makes 4 servings
2 lbs fresh asparagus, ends removed, and chopped into 1-2” pieces
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken stock (home made is preferable)
1 tablespoon , olive oil (“use extra virgin,” recommends Fulkerson.)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 leaves of fried sage
1 cup chopped Prosciutto or pancetta, sautéed.
Ground black pepper
In a large soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the asparagus to the pot, and cover with chicken stock. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer the asparagus until soft and tender. In a medium-sized frying pan, sauté the Prosciutto for 5 minutes, set aside.
Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, process until smooth. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle with ground pepper, prosciutto and sage.
MINT LAMB BURGERS
(“Good meat to eat because its lean in fat. The veggies make the dish by adding a lot of texture, crunch and flavor, says Fulkerson. “Can’t grill the patties, because there is no binder to them.”)
Yield: Makes 4 servings
1 lb ground lamb
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup bell peppers, minced
2 tablespoons of mint, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
8 leaves of Romaine
8 slices of ripe tomatoes
4 thin slices of red onion
1/4 crumbled feta
2 ounces of lemon vinaigrette
Heat grill or pan to medium high heat. Mix ground lamb with minced garlic, shallot, mint, bell peppers, salt and pepper. Form into four equal sized patties. Grill lamb burgers for approximately 4 minutes per side, turning once. Adjust cook time for desired internal temperature accordingly. Garnish lamb burgers with mint leaf.
GRAIN FREE RASPBERRY TART
(“Simple, quick and easy,” comments Fulkerson.)
Yield: Makes 8 servings
1 cup raspberry jam
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 cups crispy pecans
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
In a food processor, process the pecans until they are tiny pieces - not a nut butter - just before. Add in the honey, vanilla, and salt and mix. Add in the almond flour in small increments as you may need less than 1/4 cup. Add in small pieces of the butter or ghee while the processor is running to just mix with the batter. Small pieces of the butter or ghee may still be seen and that is OK. Oil the tart dish with coconut oil or ghee, and place a circle of parchment paper at the bottom. Take the dough and press into a 9 1/2'' tart pan or dish. Press the dough into the sides and as evenly as you can on the bottom. Bake in a 300 degrees F oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
When the crust is cool, spread the jam around the bottom of the crust (you don't have to go all the way to the sides.) Place the fresh raspberries around the edges and in the middle, on top of the jam. Slice and serve, or refrigerate.
credits: photos - personal collection; recipes, courtesy of Chef Eric Fulkerson and Reynolds Plantation