Thursday, November 20, 2008


Did you know that these simple fried balls of cornmeal and flour were actually born out of leftover fish fry coating? We tend to do them a little more on purpose these days and there are many add-ins to make them a stand-out.


Have I mentioned I love using a deep fryer? No, of course I don't use one every day, or even every week for that matter - nobody should. By the way, there is some preconceived notion across this fine country of ours, that we Southerners deep fry or smother everything in heavy layers of cheese. We don't. Okay, there are some who do, but they are not the majority. However, when frying some foods, deep frying is the more perfect solution and heads above better than pan frying. Food is quickly cooked in a deep fryer with much less absorption of oil than pan frying.

I'm an odd kind of cook. Or, maybe not. What I mean by that is that I rarely plan the food I cook. I admire all of you home cooks who plan out your menus for the month, or heck, even for the week. I just have never been much of a planner, well... except for that brief stint with the whole once-a-month cooking thing. I had a few more mouths to feed then though so I'm sure that was a good part of the planning. Being an empty-nester with just the two of us here gives me more freedom to be spontaneous I suppose.

That's how I cook. Under the influence! I see something and decide I want it. I rarely plan for it. I just want it. Right then. Like those lemon bars that I saw and immediately had to have! I have been known to be baking bread at midnight. Which is one reason why we always have way too much food in our pantry and freezer {praise God, thank You Lord}. We may not have much else as far as material things or wealth, but we always got some food 'round here for sure!

Today it was hushpuppies that had me under the influence. I'd been seeing cornbread everywhere on the blogs here lately and then while flipping through one of my cookbooks this morning looking for some foodie inspiration, I passed by a hush puppy recipe and well, right then and there I knew I wanted some hushpuppies! Now there's lots of ways to do these little puppies, but this is just a plain Jane basic recipe and really that's all I wanted. It's a recipe similar to my corn fritters, and the texture should also be fairly light inside like those. If it's dense after you fry it, then you need to thin the batter out just a tad bit more, so always do a test drop to make sure your batter is where you want it. You can certainly fancy these up all kinds of ways and I've included a few suggestions in the recipe. One of these little cookie scooper thingys (the small one) makes perfect little hush puppies too by the way.

Y'all have all heard the tales of how a hushpuppy came to be gifted such a name - there are a few of them many surrounding tales of puppies hanging out at various locations from campfires on the wild west range, to confederate soldiers, to a fish fry, being quieted by a toss of bits of the fried dough. There's also a story that hushpuppies evolved from nuns in the city of New Orleans.

I believe that hushpuppies were actually born out of somebody adding a little milk or buttermilk to leftover fish fry coating and dropping it into the hot oil? These days we make them a little bit more intentionally whether or not we're frying fish, and we've added all sorts of things to them, though in reality they truly are the perfect companion to a plateful of fried catfish, that's sure true enough.

So for lunch today The Cajun had a bowl of my hamburger soup, to which I had added some spinach (so hehehehehe, yeah, he totally ate some spinach, ♫ lalalalala he ate some spinach ♫ hahahahaha - I so love when I pull that on him) and instead of rolls, or biscuits, or cornbread, he got some hot from the fryer, light and crunchy hush puppies ... yummmm... little fried balls of cornbread! How can ya go wrong with that, really?

Recipe: Hushpuppies

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep/Cook time: 10 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1-1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup of self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted bacon drippings or canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper, and garlic powder, or each to taste
  • Buttermilk, as needed (about 1 cup)
  • Optional add-ins: Chopped jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers, pimento

Preheat deep fryer to 355 degrees F. Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, onion, egg and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add seasonings and any add-ins, then some of the buttermilk, starting with just 1/2 a cup, and adding only enough to make a loose batter, but one that is still thick enough to drop well. Spoon out some batter or use a small cookie scoop and carefully release into hot oil, frying until hush puppy floats and is a deep golden brown. Use a fork to carefully turn over if needed.

Cook's Notes: The amount of buttermilk you need will depend on the grind of the cornmeal. You want a loose batter, but one that can be scooped and dropped. Also okay to substitute regular sweet milk; you'll need less. When frying fish, substitute a tablespoon of fry cooking oil for the canola in the batter. These are excellent when fried in the same oil used for the fish also. If possible, carefully transfer the oil to a smaller skillet so that the hushpuppies will be submerged.

Crawfish Pups: Stir in 1/2 cup of finely minced, cooked crawfish tails.


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