Dishing It Up with Chef Daniel Heinze
FIRST F&B GIG: “A food runner at The Moorings in Vero Beach, Florida”
EDUCATION: Johnson & Wales University, Miami
FAVORITE LOCAL INGREDIENT: Butter beans
Carolina Gold, the rice that delighted 18th-century gourmands from Charleston to Paris and reaped fortunes for Lowcountry planters, completely disappeared from local production by 1911. Eight decades would pass before culinary historian and entrepreneur Glenn Roberts reintroduced the historic grain and made it available for purchase through his company, Anson Mills.
“It is the most versatile and flavorful rice I’ve ever tasted,” says Daniel Heinze, chef de cuisine of McCrady’s. “You can cook it into fluffy individual grains or into a starchy risotto, both delicious.” Heinze, who was introduced to the heirloom crop by McCrady’s chef/partner Sean Brock, sources it from Anson Mills. “Glenn’s dedication to this rice and its culture ensures that every grain is perfectly polished and handled with great care. You can taste the difference.”
Heinze created three stellar dishes to showcase Carolina Gold’s delicate, nutty flavor. In the first, he pairs the rice with roasted porcini mushrooms for a stew that’s all about comfort. “The mushrooms bring a forest-floor freshness and a meaty umami, which keeps your mouth salivating,” he says. “My favorite mushrooms for this dish are porcinis, but if they aren’t available, you can easily substitute shiitakes.”
For his Polenta di Riso with Kale, Garlic, and Fines Herbes, Heinze uses Anson Mills’ Polenta di Riso, Carolina Gold rice that has been coarsely ground down to the same consistency as corn polenta; when cooked, it has a similar porridge-like texture. “But the rice adds a very clean mouthfeel,” explains Heinze. “The kale and herb salad play well with its soft texture, and the roasted garlic vinaigrette enhances the flavors of the ingredients. With all the different herbs on the plate, each bite will be slightly different.”
It should be no surprise that Carolina Gold makes a superlative rice pudding. Heinze laces his with ground chamomile—“it delivers a floral note with subtle hints of apples and honey,” he says—and binds it with a classic custard. Raspberry vinegar and a dash of olive oil in the accompanying raspberry sauce intensify the acidity of the berries, complement the floral notes of the chamomile, and help cut through the pudding’s richness.
Anson Mills’ Carolina Gold rice is a landrace, or new crop grain. According to the company’s website: “‘landrace’ is a term that applies to crops whose cultural and physical identities have been retained, replicated, and improved by farmers in their fields for centuries. ‘New crop’ refers to any grain or legume crop milled and cooked within two months of harvest.” Anson Mills extends the new crop quality of its wheat, corn, rice, and field pea products by storing each harvest in freezers until it’s time to mill the grains. Store Carolina Gold, tightly bagged, in the refrigerator or the freezer. Its quality will decrease if left at room temperature.