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Chef Talk

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We talked to one of the most renowned chefs in the city to find out what he loves most about summer in Charleston, Chef Donald Barickman of Magnolias Restaurant—and to get him to dish on one of his favorite summer recipes.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the summer season in Charleston?
I look forward to the arrival of the bounty of fresh vegetables that are beginning to be harvested such as white acre peas, pink-eyed peas, butter beans, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onions, green and yellow beans, peaches, blueberries and strawberries. Summer is also the time when I enjoy many outdoor activities like fishing inshore for speckled trout, red drum, and my favorite, flounder. An occasional trip off shore always brings the excitement of catching many dolphin, an occasional tuna and my favorite off shore fish, wahoo. Near the end of summer I always look forward to shrimp season and the harvest of the Aromatic rice from Plumfield Plantation.

Q: What summer recipe are you sharing with our readers?
This season inspired my recipe for the Shrimp and Rice Salad with a lemon, garlic, and dill vinaigrette. The recipe uses Carolina Plantation Aromatic Rice. I made this rice a staple at Magnolias shortly after I met Campbell and Meredith Coxe. They had just started to grow the heirloom Della variety in small amounts and asked me to try it out. I was immediately hooked by its aromatic qualities and the fact that it is the only rice produced entirely in South Carolina in retail quantity. I had not used Carolina Plantation Aromatic Rice prior to the publication of the original Magnolias Southern Cuisine, but you will find it in many of the new recipes. Carolina Plantation also grows and mills their own white and yellow corn grits, brown rice, rice flour, and cowpeas.

A great refreshing chilled summer salad. The lemon, garlic, and dill vinaigrette adds a great flavor enhancement to the rice, and the celery and corn give it a sweet flavor and a crunchy texture.

Serves 10 to 12

The Rice
2 cups Carolina Aromatic Rice (about 1 pound)
3 1/4 cups water

Rinse the rice with cold water until the water is clear. Place the rice and the water in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot and cover with a lid. Place the pot over medium-low heat and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook the rice slowly for 12 to 15 minutes. It’s best not to peek and allow the steam to escape. When the rice has finished cooking, steam holes should be present at the surface of the rice and all of the water should have been absorbed by the rice.

Remove the pot from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. Spread it out on a large pan or bowl to cool, fluffing frequently to release the steam. Cool to room temperature. Reserve.

The Lemon, Garlic and Dill Vinaigrette
(Makes 2 1/2 cups)

3 tablespoons spicy Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons crushed fresh garlic
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups light olive oil
1/3 cup fresh dill sprigs picked from the main stem and cut in medium thin slices
Fine sea salt
Ground white pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine the mustard, garlic, lemon juice, and rice wine vinegar and mix well. Slowly whisk in the oil until all is incorporated. Add the dill. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

The Salad
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, split lengthwise, cooked and chilled
1 1/2 cups sweet corn kernels, cooked on the cob, cooled and cut-off
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, using entire scallion

Mix together the rice, shrimp, corn, celery, and scallions. Add 1 1/2 cups of the vinaigrette and toss. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Add the remaining vinaigrette as needed to refresh the salad just before serving.

Place a small amount in the center of a plate and garnish with a drizzle of the vinaigrette, a sprig of fresh dill and a lemon wedge. You may also serve this salad family-style for a picnic or large function.

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