Southern exposure: Fossett’s at Keswick plays up the squash

Photo: Amy Jackson Photo: Amy Jackson

John Hoffman has been the executive chef at Fossett’s for just over a month, but he’s already bringing a Southern influence to the kitchen. He previously worked at Keswick’s sister hotel, The Sanctuary, on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island for four years before moving to Virginia. We asked him to share a recipe he’s looking forward to cooking for Keswick guests this summer.

“From my time in Charleston, South Carolina, I wanted to bring some of the Southern influence to the refined Keswick Hall. This dish embodies the subtle, delicate flavors of the summer, and we try to let summer’s ingredients speak for themselves with our minimalist approach. Summer squash grows everywhere and is frequently overlooked as just another filler in a vegetable medley. We wanted to showcase it in a way that it stands out as a vibrant broth for the small flake of flounder. The rice served alongside it is stored with wild red bay laurel leaves for three years to impart a subtle flavor to again complement the butter flavor of the fish.”

Summer squash broth

1 yellow onion (chopped)

1 summer squash (chopped)

4 oz. Egyptian onion or shallots


4 cloves garlic

1 tsp. tumeric

1 qt. water

Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook for one hour on low. Strain through a sieve and season the stock with salt.

Laurel-aged rice and peas

1 small yellow onion (diced)

2 tsp. olive oil

8 oz. Anson Mills laurel-aged rice or basmati

12 oz. water

4 oz. field peas or butterbeans

Cook the onions on low heat in olive oil until translucent (about six minutes). Add rice and water and bring to boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and fold in butter and peas.


6 oz. flounder fillet

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 oz. canola oil

Heat a sauté pan with canola oil over medium high heat. Carefully place the seasoned fillet skin side down into the pan. Heat for four minutes and turn the fillet over and cook for an additional four minutes.