Deep South Dining


Deep South Dining | Alexander Smalls

Chef Alexander Smalls began his life in the South Carolina low country, but has traveled the world as a world class opera singer, opened some of Americas finest restaurants, and has the awards to prove it. His new cookbook, “Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen” bridges his two passions and presents them as binding forces of culture and history. Malcolm and Carol talk with Alexander about this new book, his South Carolina roots, and also hear from a show favorite about the elusive Hoover Sauce. Let's eat y'all!

Deviled Crab Cakes With Spicy Creole Mayonnaise

from: "Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen”

45 minutes, plus chilling. Serves 6 to 8.


  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup small cubes white bread, toasted
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs, plus more for dredging
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Peanut, canola or vegetable oil, for frying
  • Spicy Creole Mayonnaise (recipe follows)


1. In a large bowl, mix the crab, onion, bell pepper, celery, parsley, eggs, bread cubes, bread crumbs, thyme, cayenne, corn and ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper until well combined. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

2. Put more bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Form the crab mixture into 1-ounce (1½ -inch-diameter) patties. Dredge the patties in the breadcrumbs to coat and shake off any excess crumbs.

3. Fill a large cast-iron skillet with oil to a depth of ½ inch. Heat over medium-high heat to 325 degrees. Working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, add the crab patties to the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

4. Drain on a crumpled brown paper bag or paper towels. Serve immediately with the Spicy Creole Mayonnaise.


Baked Crab Cakes

Place the crumb-dredged uncooked patties on a parchment paper–lined half-sheet pan and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven until browned, about 5 minutes.

Spicy Creole Mayonnaise

45 minutes, plus chilling. Makes about 3 1/3 cups.


  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, celery, onion, brown sugar, cayenne, tomato paste, vinegar, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has the consistency of a thick paste, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then chill for 1 hour.

2. Transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and fold in the mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

(The mayonnaise can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month)

More Episodes