Congaree and Penn is a Florida farm dedicated to agriculture and culinary endeavors, and gathering the community to enjoy both.

Pecan Oil Salmon + Crispy Jupiter Middlins Cake

Pecan Oil Salmon + Crispy Jupiter Middlins Cake


Pecan Oil Poached Salmon with Crispy Jupiter Middlins Cake and Grape and Bacon Ragout

Yield: 6 portions | Prep Time: 40 minutes | Cook Time: 60 minutes


  • Six 6-7 ounce salmon portions, deboned and skin off

  • 1 pound of smoked bacon strips

  • Red and green grapes, washed and picked

  • 1 bulb of fennel, white part small diced, discard top

  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and small diced

  • 15 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly

  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced

  • 1 bushel of scallions, washed and sliced thinly

  • 20 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 bushel of Italian parsley, washed and chopped finely

  • 1 medium orange, zested and juiced

  • 3 cups of chicken broth

  • 1 cup of dry white wine

  • 1 cup of Noble Muscadine Farm Cider (optional)

  • 1 cup of Congaree and Penn Pecan Oil

  • 1 cup of Congaree and Penn Fish Fry

  • 1/2 cup of Congaree and Penn Jupiter Rice Middlins

  • 1 cup of creme fraiche, or sour cream

  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk

  • 4 tablespoons of butter

  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard

  • 3 cups of neutral oil for frying / poaching

  • salt and pepper to taste

Method of Preparation

Day prior to serving

In a 2 quart saucepan, sweat the minced shallot and 1/3 of the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cook on medium low until translucent. Add white wine and reduce by half. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in middlins, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Reduce to low heat. Continue to stir the middlins every few minutes, cooking until soft, or approximately 25 minutes. Add water if necessary. Once rice is soft, adjust seasoning as necessary, then spread evenly in a small dish and cool in refrigerator. Once cooled, add sour cream and all but 2 tablespoons of scallions and store in refrigerator overnight, covered.

Day of service

The Middlins Cake

Scoop 3 ounces (slightly larger than golf ball size) scoops of the middlins, and form them into small patties. Leave at room temperature. Pour buttermilk into a small bowl, and pour fish fry into another small bowl. Each patty will be bathed first with buttermilk, then fish fry. Warm 2 cups of neutral oil in a large pan over medium heat. Let warm for about 4 minutes, and fry all the cakes, in batches if necessary, until golden brown, turning over as needed. Place fried cakes on a sheet tray and place in oven set to warm.

The Bacon and Grape Ragout

Evenly cross-cut 1/3 of the bacon into 1 inch segments, and place flat on a cookie sheet in freezer. The other 2/3 of the bacon, cross-cut into 1/2 inch segments and crisp in an iron skillet (steel or aluminum will work, too) over medium heat. Once crispy, remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Add diced fennel, onion and remaining sliced garlic to the bacon fat. Cook over medium heat until color develops. Add bayleaf, orange juice and zest, cider and remaining chicken broth and reduce 3/4. Add whole grapes and thyme and smash lightly with a potato masher or back of a spoon. It’s okay if all aren't smashed, we are just expediting the “breaking down” process from whole grapes into saucy grapes. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer approximately 30 minutes. Season to taste, add chopped parsley and finish off heat by swirling in the rest of the butter.

The Poached Salmon

Ideally, salmon should be poached at 120°F. To accomplish this exact temperature, using a candy thermometer helps. Probe thermometers will work as well, so long as the tip of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan. Using a wide bottom pan or sauteuse, add pecan oil along with 1 cup of neutral oil. Turn pan on low and slowly heat. Season the salmon evenly with salt and pepper, and allow to warm to room temp. After 10 minutes, the oil should be warm. Place portioned salmon bloodline in the oil, and let poach for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 130°F. Once salmon is cooked, gently remove from oil and place on a baking sheet. Place in oven on warm.

The Garnish

While salmon is poaching and ragout is building in flavor, remove frozen bacon and spin in a food processor, making bacon crumbs. Cook these crumbs until crispy in a pan, then strain. Keep room temp. Lightly brush the cooked salmon portions with the dijon, and sprinkle bacon crumbs evenly on top of each portion.


Place a warm middlins cake just off center on the plates, followed by 3-4 ounces of grape and bacon ragout in the center, just on top of a side of the cake. Place bacon crusted salmon portion on top of ragout. Garnish the plate with remaining sliced scallions and grape slices.

Recipe by Chef Trey Hartinger  |  Photo by Stefanie Keeler

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