ORLANDO, Fla. -- OK, it's date night. He's vegan. You're not. 

Chef Greg Richie has a solution.

On our recent visit to Soco Thornton Park, we discovered two fresh dishes -- one that compliments a seafood enthusiast, and the other one that is surprisingly vegan.

"I love me some black eyed peas," Chef laughed, referring to his black eyed pea ravioli. "To make a nice vegan-style sauce to go with that, a collard green pesto, some fresh vegetables - we pull it all together."

The black eyed pea stuffing is smoked, with hits of garlic.

For the oysters, Chef bathes them in buttermilk, then tosses them in cornmeal. The plump lil' guys get fried and are put to bed on top of cicharrón. The garnish includes a green tomato relish.

So bring it on, date night! Let's cook:

Cornmeal Fried Oysters -- Soco Restaurant Recipes Executive Chef/Partner Greg Richie

  • 4ea. per person -- jumbo shucked oysters, green tomatoes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups cornmeal


  1. Soak oysters in buttermilk for 1 hour.
  2. Drain, then toss in cornmeal until well coated.
  3. Fry in 375F oil for about 1-2 minutes until golden and plump.
  4. Season with salt and pepper

Green Tomato Relish

  • 1 ea. green tomatoes
  • ¼ ea. shallot, minced
  • ½ TBL chives, minced
  • ½ TBL salt, or to taste
  • ½ TBL champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. Score the bottom of tomato, blanch in boiling water, and shock in ice bath. 
  2. Peel off tomato skin, cut tomato in half, gently squeeze out seeds, and small dice. 
  3. Mix with remaining 5 ingredients. 

To Serve:

Place crispy oyster on top of a crispy pork rind.

Drizzle with a little ranch dressing, then top with green tomato relish.

Smoked Black Eye Pea Ravioli

  • 2 cups Black eyed peas, cooked
  • ½ ea small yellow onion, diced small, sautéed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, sautéed 
  • ½ tsp cumin, ground
  • 2 TBL scallions, sliced thin
  • 2 TBL Basil, chopped fine
  • 1 TBL Parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • ½ TBL salt, or to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water


  1. Place all except the water in a food processor and pulse until beans are about a quarter their original size. Add water as needed to make mixture thinner if too thick to blend well.
  2. Taste, adjust seasoning as preferred.
  3. Place filling in preferred brand of dumpling wrapper. Form using standard ravioli procedure.

Collard Green Pesto

  • 1 cup Collard greens, washed, chopped and boiled for about 1-2 minutes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, sautéed 
  • 2 TBL roasted peanuts
  • ¾ cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp  salt, adjust as preferred


  • Place all in blender and blend until smooth
  • Adjust seasoning.

To serve:

Place ravioli in lightly boiling water for about 3 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.



  1. Place ravioli in bowl, add additional vegetables of choice.
  2. Top with collard pesto.