WRAL.com at the State Fair

Taste test: turnip greens sandwich

Posted May 22, 2010 8:18 a.m. EDT

Regular readers of this blog may remember one of the taste tests I did at the Fair last year: a collards and chitlins sandwich. It was not an overwhelming success -- then again it was less of a deliberate food item and more a misread menu on my part.  Archie's, a food vendor at Got to Be NC, is offering a real sandwich that's a tasty variant:  turnip greens, fatback, and corn pone.

Corn pone, for those of you reading along and not from around here, is corn meal, salt, and water mixed up and baked or fried. Fatback is just what you might think -- fat from beneath a pig's back skin. Two slices of corn pone, two slices of fatback, and a generous helping of turnip greens made this sandwich. It's $5, or a little extra if you want to get the plate with chicken (as seen in the picture.) Archie's also had hot sauce and plenty of vinegar available.

I bought the sandwich and seriously vinegared it before sitting down to eat. Turnip greens aren't any better than collards for the structural integrity of a sandwich, so it had started falling apart even before I sat down. Get a fork.  A big bite of the reassembled sandwich and my thoughts were as follows: "Wow, these turnip greens are excellent." "This is very soft corn pone." "Why do I need the fatback again?"

The vinegar wasn't very hot but went well on the turnip greens -- either they were incredibly fresh or someone has the secret for perfect greens cooking. The corn pone was a little sweet and softer than I'm used to having. (How I'm used to having it: fried to a perfect scorch in an iron skillet.) The fatback provided a little flavor but it was unnecessary, and overwhelmed the taste of the greens a bit. I had a couple bites, then took it out of the sandwich and put it aside.

You'll never be able to claim this sandwich is a healthy choice: the fried corn pone takes care of that. But it's certainly healthier with the fatback out. My recommendation: order it sans fatback, put some vinegar in it, get a cold Coke from another booth (Archie's sells Pepsi products) take it back behind the flower exhibit area, and enjoy the music and your lunch.