This Hush Puppies Recipe Offers Fried Delight

Hush the puppies

Active time:20 minutes

Total time:30 mins

Servings:4 to 6 (makes 20 to 24 hushpuppies)

Active time:20 minutes

Total time:30 mins

Servings:4 to 6 (makes 20 to 24 hushpuppies)

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I have a confession: I haven’t eaten many hush puppies in my life so far. I come from a cornbread family, and the few times I had hush puppies in the restaurant weren’t memorable. But after frying a few batches to develop a recipe for these cornmeal fritters, I realized just how sublime they can be.

Cornmeal batter lightly sweetened, lightly spiced with black pepper and sprinkled with sliced ​​green onions (some cooks add onions, corn or bell peppers instead) is a delicious treat. But the real hallmark of a great, quiet pup is its texture — a crispy exterior that gives way to a soft, chewy center — and this recipe produces just that.

A staple of southern and soulful cuisines, hush puppies are commonly found on plates of barbecue and fried seafood. There are many myths surrounding the origin of the name. (Perhaps the most common being that donuts were used to calm barking dogs.) Robert Moss in Serious Eats found that the term predates the food, and donuts had other names in various parts of the country. “At least two decades before ‘hushpuppy’ hit the press, South Carolinians enjoyed what they called ‘red horse bread,'” he wrote. “Red horse was one of the common species of fish (along with bream, catfish, and trout) that were fished from South Carolina rivers and served in fingerlings along the banks.”

A specialty of Romeo Govan, an African-American man born into slavery, “This red horse bread, a captured log, was made by ‘simply mixing cornmeal with water, salt and eggs, and dropped by spoonfuls into the hot lard in which the fish were fried,” writes Moss. “Besides ‘red horse bread,’ the southerners had several other names for what we now call hushpuppies, such as ” wampus” in Florida, and “red devils” and “three-fingered bread” in Georgia.”

Whatever you call them, they are delicious.

A guide to cornmeal, oatmeal and polenta – and how to know when to use them

This recipe starts with a mixture of cornmeal and all-purpose flour. I experimented with different ratios and found that I preferred the texture that resulted from equal parts of each. Recipe editor Ann Maloney preferred a 3:1 ratio of cornmeal to flour for the extra corn flavor it gave the hushpuppies, so I’ve listed it as a variation in the recipe below. below if you feel the same. The batter is seasoned with ground black pepper for extra flavor — but you can customize it by adding other spices, like cayenne pepper or paprika — and the buttermilk gives the puppies a nice flavor.

A word of warning: Don’t overmix the batter – it can result in dense, tough puppies. The brief resting period is also important, allowing time for the cornmeal to hydrate and any gluten to relax a bit, resulting in fluffier, more tender donuts. So it’s time to fry! I made golf ball sized puppies, but you can shape them into different shapes and sizes as you like, just note that the frying time may differ.

How to Reuse and Properly Dispose of Cooking Oil

Finally, while they’re great on their own, condiments — like a spicy remoulade sauce or honey butter — make these puppies even more irresistible.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.

VARIATION: For more corn flavor but a slightly grittier texture, you can substitute up to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with additional cornmeal.

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  • 1 cup (140 grams) medium grind cornmealpreferably in stone (see VARIANT)
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour (see VARIATION)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) well-stirred buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced ​​(about 1/4 cup)
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • Remoulade Sauce or honey butter, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, pepper and salt until well combined. In another medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, butter and egg until well blended. Add the buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined, then stir in the green onion. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add enough oil to a medium or large heavy-bottomed saucepan to come up 1 1/2 inches up the sides and set over medium-high heat. Heat until a fry or instant-read thermometer registers 350 degrees. (You can also check the oil temperature by dropping a small spoonful of batter into the oil. It should immediately begin to bubble and turn golden brown.) Place a rack on a large rimmed baking sheet or line a tray with paper napkins. and place it near your work area.

Use a medium cookie scoop to drop golf ball-sized rounds (about 2 tablespoons each) of the batter into the oil, about 6 at a time so you don’t overcrowd the pan and make drop the oil temperature too much. (You can use two scoops if you don’t have a cookie scoop.)

Fry, turning the pups occasionally with a spider or slotted spoon and adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil at about 350 degrees, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes . Transfer the hush puppies to the prepared skillet and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve hot with remoulade sauce or honey butter for dipping, if desired.

Due to the variability in oil absorption, the ingredients are too variable for meaningful analysis.

Staff Writer Recipe Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; questions by e-mail to voraciously@washpost.com.

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