Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 63

F L AV O R S
His veneration of bread continued when the family
moved to Southwest Virginia, where his father, Walter,
took a job as a quality engineer.
"My mother, Teresa, baked a lot of bread," Carroll recalls. "We had a wheat grinder in the basement. She would
buy buckets and buckets of grain, and the children would
grind wheat into flour. My mother made whole-grain
bread, and that really left an impression on me-grinding
your own flour, the freshness. It's hard to match that."
Carroll knows the Abingdon restaurant scene from
the ground up. He once baked pizzas and constructed
subs at Bella's and learned German cooking at The Tavern. Like fellow Southwest Virginia chef Sean Brock, Carroll is a veteran of the kitchen at The Hardware Company in Abingdon. One of the cooks at Rain is Shawn
Crookshank, who once owned another popular but
now-closed Abingdon eatery, The Starving Artist Café.
Not only does Crookshank plate up shrimp and grits
at Rain, his artwork graces the walls, including a recent
painting of brook trout.
The visual aspect of cookery has always appealed to
Carroll. When he was growing
up, most of the cookbooks he
paged through lacked photographs. Later, when he discovered books written by Thomas
Keller and the late Charlie Trotter, it was a revelation.
"They were showing food in
a way I'd never seen it before,"
Carroll tells us. "They opened up
a whole realm of possibilities to
me."
Carroll calls Keller and Trotter
"food wizards," who started with
classic French techniques and
took them to a different level.

Carroll absorbed that reinterpretation of French
cooking styles and combined it with the love of regional
cooking that originated in his mother's Southwest Virginia kitchen. Through chef Sean Brock's blog, he discovered Allan Benton, one of the world's best-known pork
purveyors, who had grown up in nearby Scott County,
Virginia. Benton operates Benton's Smoky Mountain
Country Hams in the southeast Tennessee community
of Madisonville.
"When I first called to order bacon and ham, Allan
himself picked up the phone," Carroll remembers. "As a
young cook, I was able to get my hands on the same product that these rock-star chefs were using."
Carroll took an old mountain standard, redeye gravy,
and did some reinterpreting of his own, using one of Benton's products.
"Redeye gravy is really thin, as it's made with ham
renderings, water and coffee," Carroll says. "It's usually
poured over country ham and used to sop biscuits. I was
trying to serve it in a way that wasn't watery and not running across the plate."
The result was a redeye gravy
mayonnaise. Carroll decided to
serve it on a baguette. The crowning touch is Benton's world-class
Tennessee-cured prosciutto. The
appetizer quickly became a permanent fixture on the menu.
With its roots in the mountain
kitchen combined with innovation and style, it's a perfect symbol of the cuisine at Rain.

"As a young cook,
I was able to get
my hands on the
same product
that these rockstar chefs were
using."

Fred and Jill Sauceman study
and celebrate the foodways of Appalachia and beyond from their home
base in Johnson City, Tennessee.

ABOVE: Locally grown tomatoes, in a variety of colors, are combined to make this summertime salad at Rain.
FACING PAGE: Allan Benton's prosciutto tops a salad of roasted beets and lightly fried cakes of goat cheese
at Rain.

RAIN:
283 East Main Street,
Abingdon, Virginia
276-739-2331
rainabingdon.com

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

63


http://www.rainabingdon.com

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 43
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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