Jimmy Red Cornbread Dumplings, Watermelon Radish Purée, Shaved Radish Salad

Our mild spring climate yields absolutely stunning radishes this time of the year. Ambrose Farms (Wadmalaw Island) produces some of my favorite varieties such as the breakfast and watermelon. I’ve also selected Jimmy Red Cornmeal from Geechie Boy Mills (Edisto, South Carolina) for the dumplings. The Jimmy Red variety has a robust somewhat nutty flavor that carries through well on this delicate dumpling. This heirloom variety was lost for decades until it was recently returned to the market last year. Greg Johnsman (Geechie Boy Mill) also possesses the largest lot of viable seeds, which took five years of hard work and dedication.

Recipe by Chef Nathan E. Thurston, Thurston Southern Catering

By / Photography By | April 07, 2017


  • Dumplings (See Instructions)
  • Watermelon Radish Puree (See Instructions)
  • Shaved Radish Salad (See Instructions)



¾ cup Geechie Boy Mills Jimmy Red Cornmeal
2 tablespoons all-purpose Flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ cracked black pepper
1½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1½ quarts unsalted mushroom or unsalted
vegetable stock for poaching

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well to combine, then reserve. Combine wet ingredients and then fold into dry ingredients gently until just combined. Use caution to not over-mix. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Bring stock to a simmer in a 4-quart sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Form dumplings by shaping the batter into 1-inch balls. Position the formed dumplings onto a greased spoon and carefully drop into the hot stock. Dumplings will sink to the bottom then slowly rise to the top and double in size. Repeat process until all batter is used.

Cover and keep just below a simmer for 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to uncover the pot, which will disturb the process. Lay several paper towels on a dinner plate and remove dumplings with a slotted spoon to the plate to drain and firm up for 3–4 minutes.

Watermelon Radish Purée

2 cups diced watermelon radish, ¼inch dice
1 cup diced butter
1 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring all to a simmer in a small saucepan. Simmer until radish is fork-tender and then strain out solids (reserve liquid). Purée radish in a blender while drizzling in poaching liquid one tablespoon at a time. Add enough liquid until the Purée is smooth and luxurious in texture. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Hold warm until your dumplings are ready. Note: You should have a couple ounces of reserved poaching liquid left over.

Shaved Radish Salad

2 breakfast radishes, shaved thin
¼ watermelon radish, shaved thin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Shave radish on a mandolin. Dress radish with olive, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.


  • Dumplings (See Instructions)
  • Watermelon Radish Puree (See Instructions)
  • Shaved Radish Salad (See Instructions)
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