Miller was the first and youngest (22) winner of MasterChef in the USA, in 2010.
One of the dishes that clinched her win was white chocolate bread pudding, which she has transformed into beignets for the new book.
Country fried chicken was another title clincher, replaced in this book by Mississippi fried chicken from a Southern cooking promotion she did in China.
Crispy cornbread also helped her win, appearing as the base for a shrimp appetizer. In the new book, she offers crunchy skillet cornbread, baked in a cast-iron skillet, a recipe handed down in her family.
Appearing at Melissa's Produce to promote and sign the book, Miller (above) presented a variety of dishes to show what she calls the new Southern table, which is her own style of cooking rather than something prevalent in the South.
A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where she studied nutrition, Miller advocates trimming fats and calories from recipes, as in making biscuits and pies with olive oil pastry, and in removing the usual creamy mayo-based dressing from a Southern favorite, layered salad, and replacing it with a vinaigrette dressing and pea pesto.
On the other hand, she adds feta cheese and chopped bacon to a succotash salad, making it extra delicious, but not low in fat.
The recipe calls for a typical Southern ingredient, pickled okra, which you can buy online or make yourself from online recipes--Miller does not provide one in the book. The chefs at Melissa's left it out of their version (above). Similarly, you can leave out the bacon and cheese and still have a good dish.
CREOLE SUCCOTASH SALAD
From "Whitney Miller's New Southern Table"
2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen lima beans
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
1/4 cup chopped green onions
18 grape tomatoes, cut into halves
1/3 cup pickled okra slices, 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon diced jalapeño chile
Crumbled feta cheese for garnish
Chopped crisply cooked bacon for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
To make the succotash, fill a medium saucepan 3/4 full with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add the lima beans. Cook until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes, then plunge into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
Place the lima beans, corn kernels, green onions, grape tomatoes, pickled okra, cilantro and jalapeño chile in a large bowl.
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl mix together the lemon juice, lime juice and garlic. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Stir in the salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with feta cheese and bacon, if using.
Makes 6 servings.