Forget the key lime: Chef Greg Baker talks sour orange pie, more

Garden & Gun highlighted Old Florida foods Michelle and Greg Baker's Fodder & Shine will feature.

click to enlarge Greg and Michelle Baker. - Heidi Kurpiela
Heidi Kurpiela
Greg and Michelle Baker.

Florida Cracker cuisine — that's the focus of Fodder & Shine, Greg and Michelle Baker's new Seminole Heights restaurant.

Opening next month, Fodder & Shine is set to serve up grub influenced by the state's history and native dwellers, everyone from conquistadors to farmers.

Michelle told CL in August about the food and drinks, including alligator, Gulf seafood, preserved eats, house-made soda and infused spirits, planned for the eatery.

And on Tuesday, Greg discussed other features of the Old Florida lineup — such as swamp cabbage, datil pepper and old sour — with the South Carolina-based Garden & Gun magazine.

"Expect to see some of these dishes and ingredients on the menu," the publication's article said.

According to Baker, people near St. Augustine fashion the funky datil into hot sauce, while old sour, a fermented condiment, is sprinkled onto grub much like hot sauce around the southern end of Florida.

Smoked fish dip, as well as smoked and fried mullet roe, were among the seafood-inflected dishes mentioned.

Describing mullet as an iconic element of the dip, Baker said it's often incorporated alongside a creamy base of mayo or boiled dressing, onion and saltine crackers, which will be subbed for hardtack at the eatery.

Two grain-based dishes were highlighted, too. One was a simple offering of tomato gravy and rice, with salt pork, onion, crushed tomatoes and more.

And the second was sofkee, a porridge of ground and fermented rice (or corn), which Baker said he tasted as a Boy Scout and didn't enjoy much.

"Frankly, I thought of it as a form of hazing... But trying fermented grits last fall made me reconsider," he told the magazine. "In the hands of caring cooks, it could be something of worth."

Much to the delight of dessert lovers, Baker also talked of sour orange pie, a treat he believes was key lime pie's predecessor. 

Super-sour Seville oranges, the pie's main ingredient, are everywhere in Florida, he said, unlike key limes.

"When I mention to older Crackers that I'm going to be making sour orange pie," Baker said, "Their eyes light up.

"'I'll be there.'"

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