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$20 dinner with Linton Hopkins 

Restaurant Eugene's celebrated chef finds the world in Southern cuisine

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Thirteen mile apalachicola oyster
Cilantro emulsion, frozen mignonette and raw beet

• 2 oysters, rinsed and shucked
• 1 bunch cilantro, blanched and stems trimmed
• 1 small beet, microplaned
• Half a shallot, finely minced
• 1 egg yolk
• 5 tablespoons peanut oil
• 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 1 splash Champagne (optional)
• Salt and pepper

Combine shallot, 1 tablespoon vinegar, Champagne, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Freeze.Combine egg yolk, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a bowl, steadily whipping in small amounts of peanut oil until all the oil is fully combined into mayonnaise.Combine mayo and cilantro in a blender.

Spread cilantro mayo on the inside of oyster shell, lay shucked oyster atop. Shave frozen mignonette with a fork, top oyster with equal parts mignonette and beet.

Lacinato kale and shaved fennel salad
Bacon-sorghum marmalade

• 3 strips bacon, chopped
• 3 tablespoons sorghum (or honey or brown sugar)
• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1 bunch kale, stems removed
• 1 fennel base, thinly shaved with mandolin
• 3-4 tablespoons of yogurt
• Juice of half a lemon

Cook chopped bacon in a small pot over medium heat until cooked but still chewy. Drain and reserve fat. Remove and set aside a couple chunks of bacon for the chicken thigh dish below. In the same pot, combine with sorghum and vinegar and reduce over low heat until mixture is thick and sticky.

Toss kale with peanut oil and bake at 350 degrees for about five minutes, until crisp.

Toss fennel with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

On a plate, spread a generous smear of yogurt, arrange crisp kale and shaved fennel atop. Finish with dollops of bacon marmalade.

Gulf shrimp
Creamed scallions, cherry tomato fondue, pickled fennel frond and Thai chili

• 8-10 shrimp, peeled, shells reserved
• 1 1/2 bunches of scallions, chopped with white roots reserved
• 2 fennel stalks, cleaned and sliced as thin as possible
• 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced
• 1/2 pint container heavy cream
• 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup white wine vinegar

In a small pot, combine vinegar and sugar with the Thai chili over medium heat. Once sugar is fully dissolved, bring to a simmer then turn off. Pour over sliced fennel stalks and set aside.

Add shrimp shells, scallion whites, a chopped tomato, 1 tablespoon oil to a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Deglaze with a splash of white wine and 1 cup of water, simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes. Strain stock into a bowl.

Sauté scallions over high heat in a large, buttered pan with almost all of the heavy cream and a generous pinch or two of salt. Cook until thick and creamy, a few minutes.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil to pan over high heat, remove from heat, add chopped tomatoes and then return to heat, reducing to a simmer. Cook until tomatoes are soft and combined with oil, but stopping before they break down into a sauce.

Sauté shrimp over high heat, adding stock after browning for a minute or two. Finish with a tablespoon of butter.Arrange plate of creamed scallions, shrimp, and tomatoes, finishing with pickled fennel.

Skillet free range chicken thighs
North Carolina squash and Parmesan gratin, white acre peas, white wine mustard jus

• 1 cup peas, shelled
• 2 chicken thighs, bones removed and reserved
• 2 yellow squash, sliced thin lengthwise, scraps reserved
• Half a shallot, sliced thin
• 1 cup of grated Parmesan
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons peanut oil
• 1 tablespoons Creole mustard
• Reserved bacon fat
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil peas and a few chunks of reserved bacon for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cook thigh bone, shallot peel, scallion root, squash scraps, bay leaf and 1 tablespoon oil in a small pot until fat browns. Deglaze with 1 cup water. Reduce for 45 minutes or so and strain stock.

Generously butter a baking sheet, spread shallot slices and arrange thin slices of squash in layers. Scattered with bits of butter, drizzle a small amount of heavy cream (from previous recipe), olive oil and finish with grated Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove foil and roast for 12 minutes.

Fry chicken thighs skin down in oil and reserved bacon fat over medium heat, at first pressing the thighs down with another pan. Turn only after the thighs appear to have cooked through entirely. Remove from heat.

Remove chicken and drain fat from the pan, add reserved stock, splash white wine and 1 tablespoon mustard to pan. Reduce to a jus.

Arrange a large slice of squash gratin with fried chicken, peas and jus atop.

Peach and plum crisp

• Organic yogurt
• 2 peaches, chopped
• 2 plums, chopped
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 3-4 tablespoons butter
• 3-4 tablespoons flour

Combine peaches, plums and sugar in a sauté pan over medium heat and cover. Cook for a few minutes, until soft. Pinch together equal parts sugar, flour and butter, like making biscuits, just enough for topping. Generously butter ramekins, pack in peaches and plums, top with crisp and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on sheet, until golden brown and bubbling over. Cool and serve with a drizzle of yogurt.

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