Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Hush Puppies and Salmon Loaf

It's funny the things that we get nostalgic about. Recently I made bourbon balls for a friend for her birthday and the minute I smell the final mixture I was transported back to Christmas when I was little. While enjoying a recent porch Friday with neighbors we got to talking about foods we miss and somehow hush puppies came up. Turns out the G enjoyed them a lot when he was younger at a time when he lived in the South. I was the family cook for Fridays starting at about age 11, so I have a lot of experience in making them...they go so well with fish, especially fried fish. Hadn't made them for about 50 years (I may be exaggerating) or so but I know how to make them! Then the conversation turned to my Family Food cookbook and A.M. brought up Salmon Loaf Supreme. She wanted to make that, I wanted to make Hush Puppies and so a joint dinner was planned on the spot. I offered to also make Cole Slaw since Sweetie really enjoys mine and it goes so well with the other offerings.

Last weekend we were finally all able to get together. A.M. made an amazing salmon loaf, using fresh breadcrumbs and home made mayo!  The slaw was delicious with it and with the hush puppies. The hush puppies were just as I remembered, but more importantly, they were exactly what G remembered and missed. He may have eaten a few more than anyone else, but why not? The company, as usual, was the best part.

The story goes that these little fried corn muffins (because that's what they really are) are called hush puppies because the leftovers were thrown to the dogs to get them to be quiet. Begging clearly worked.

Do try these yourself. Since they are fried I don't recommend a regular diet of them, but for the occasional treat, they really do go well with fish (including salmon loaf). If you have one, use a large cast iron skillet. The oil will stay at an even temperature better with one. I used Crisco because that's what my Mom used. She used to strain hers through cheesecloth when it had cooled a bit and re-use the oil, but I returned mine to the (empty) Crisco can and threw it away. 

I used a medium grind corn meal (Bob's Red Mill brand) because I like them a bit chewy, but finer ground corn meal is fine, too. Be sure to chop the onions really fine so that they mix in well. 

I made the first ones too large (see photo below) and when I turned them over the centers came out. Returned to the teaspoon size recommended in the recipe and that worked really well.

I used a pancake turner to flip these as one side cooked to golden brown. A teaspoon of batter doesn't seem like enough, but it really is. If you let the batter sit for 10 minutes after making it before you cook the hush puppies, it will thicken just a bit and you will have perfect cornmeal morsels. Be sure to have lots of paper towels or brown paper grocery bags to drain them on and be sure to serve them right away! You can keep the first ones warm in a 160 degree F oven, spread out on a cookie sheet or sheet pan while you finish frying the rest, then put them all in a basket lined with paper or cloth towels and eat while they are still warm.

Hush Puppies
old family recipe

2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
½ cup onion, finely chopped

Stir together dry ingredients. Beat egg and milk together; add to the dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. Blend in the onion. Drop by teaspoonfuls into deep fat preheated to 3750 F. Dad usually fried these in about 2 inches of hot Crisco oil in the cast iron skillet. Cook until well browned on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper.

Makes about 25. Traditional bread to go with fried fish. It’s possible that cooking these after the fish are fried allows the hush puppies to absorb most of the fishy flavor from the oil.

No comments :

Post a Comment