The Chef’s Take: Watercress, Cucumber and Feta Sandwiches, Frank Stitt


“I want to feel really good after I eat,” Frank Stitt says. “I have always tried to work in a way to concentrate flavor without adding lots of extra fat. I’ve always used vegetables — our Southern vegetables of the season — as a dominant player.”

When the chef first opened his elegant, relaxed restaurant, Highlands Bar and Grill, in Birmingham, Ala., in 1982, sourcing first-rate ingredients was near impossible. Nevertheless, Stitt persisted, as lowering his standard was out of the question. Fast-forward more than three decades and his pioneering efforts have exceeded expectations. The chef, widely considered the godfather of elevated Southern cuisine, has opened three additional restaurants (Bottega, Bottega Cafe and Chez Fonfon) and penned two cookbooks. What is more, his work as an advocate for farmers markets and as a mentor to aspiring chefs has had ripple effects across the South and, indeed, the country.

In the kitchen, Stitt’s hand is restrained so the focus stays on the ingredients. Bitter greens and fresh herbs are the big players in this vibrant sandwich that also stars radish slivers, cucumber slices, yogurt, walnuts and feta — all held together by a floppy, …read more