Hunter Evans remembers running around with his brothers when they visited their grandmother Elvieretta in New Orleans. The Jackson, Mississippi, native can still see the fresh shrimp in the sink and smell the spicy aromas of her homemade stuffed artichokes. “Everyone was always gathered in the kitchen,” he says. Today, Evans is quick to credit Elvie for his appreciation of warm hospitality and fresh local food. After graduating from the University of Mississippi, training at the Culinary Institute of America, and working in restaurants from Oxford to New York City, he’s now chef and owner of Elvie’s, an all-day cafe located in Jackson’s Belhaven neighborhood. At the restaurant, locally and regionally sourced ingredients are the focus, and the redfish almondine—a fresh take on trout almondine—is a menu standout that highlights this approach. Caught in the Gulf of Mexico, the redfish has a soft, sweet flavor and medium-firm texture. Evans pan-sears it, serving it atop a bed of wilted, buttery Bibb lettuce from a hydroponic farm in nearby Flora, Mississippi. Drizzled with brown butter sourced from Georgia’s Banner Butter and a charred lemon puree, the entree is garnished with toasted almonds, capers, chives, and fresh parsley from Two Dog Farms, also in Flora. To further highlight the combination of flavors, Evans suggests pairing the dish with a glass of Xarel-lo by Can Sumoi, a Spanish wine from the restaurant’s list featuring only natural wines.
This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Southbound.