Hush Puppies!

Hush Puppies!

It’s not yet Summertime, but the fish are biting, anyway!  Warmer temperatures and sunshine perk up those little lake (and river) swimmers, and if you’ve got the line and the pole and the hook and the worm and the sinker and the bobber and the net and . . . well, maybe we’d better stop right there.  It’s amazing what we can spend on a hobby that used to be so simple, isn’t it?

Bluegill and Crappie are two of my favorite fish.  I like ’em filleted, dipped in a mixture of egg & milk, rolled in a blend of flour and cornmeal with some salt & pepper and fried to a golden brown.  Catfish are pretty good too, and right now several of my cousins are snagging Spoonbill.  These guys really know how to fry the fish, too, let me tell you!  It’s a skill passed down through the family, and a mighty fine tradition.

Some folks like Hush Puppies (or is it Hushpuppies, all one word?) with their fish dinner.  I made an online search for hushpuppy recipes, and there are a lot of variations out there.  Which to choose?  My only trial with making this simple fare was during my junior high days, when a friend and I decided to mix up a batch in her mama’s kitchen.  The result was not quite hockey-puck tough, but they were fairly tasteless, and not at all what we’d had in mind.  When you add in the thundercloud expression on Mrs. L’s face upon seeing the mess we’d strewn across the counter and stovetop, it probably is little wonder that I’ve been in no hurry to repeat the experiment.

Anyway, I copied down the ingredients listed in three separate recipes, mixed up what seemed like a reasonable combination of the trio, then tweaked it a little more, half-way through.  Here’s what I’ve settled on for now:

preheat cooking oil (2-3″ deep) in a deep pot to 365 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, place:

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 shakes from the garlic powder can

Stir together the dry ingredients, then add:

1 small onion (or half, depending on your taste) chopped fine.

Then mix together:

1 egg, well beaten

1 cup buttermilk  (I used fresh milk, with a splash of white vinegar added)

Pour this into the dry mixture and stir just until moistened.

Drop (carefully!) by teaspoon into the hot oil.  You can use a second spoon to scrape the batter/dough off the first one, but I just used my finger.  Fry for about 3 minutes, turning occasionally with a heat-proof slotted spoon.  (Some of mine kept popping back over after I turned ’em).  Remove  from grease before they get too dark, drain on paper towels.  Best eaten fresh.

Next time, I’m thinking about adding a little fresh ground pepper to the mix.  What about you?  Got a recipe to share?


Tell us what you think!