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© Jason Wallis

At the Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama, chef Chris Hastings modernizes classic Southern dishes such as succotash. Called the Hot and Hot Tomato Salad on the menu, Hastings’s version of the old-school Southern side dish requires a lot more attention and time than the original.

“For traditional succotash, you stew together corn, okra, field peas, tomatoes, onions and bacon, and serve it as a side or over rice,” Hastings says. “We cook the ingredients separately to make a composed salad. The tomatoes are not cooked; the field peas are cooked until tender; the corn is lightly sautéed; the okra is breaded and fried; and the bacon is cooked until crispy. We also drizzle the salad with chive aioli, which adds an onion element and a nontraditional creaminess.”

The salad is proof that sometimes the simplest dish takes the most effort—but it’s worth it.

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