In the South, the tradition of cooking recipes from scratch is very important. Because of this, Southern cooking is very popular, and specialty products like grits, easy to find, are now readily available nationwide. It's popular to use foods that grow well in the area’s rich farmland, such as: corn, grits, ham, rice, collard greens, black eyed peas, and turnips. These are very diverse due to the variety of people that live there, with notes of English, French, Spanish, Native American and African American flavors in the dishes. Because there is a good deal of coastline in the South, seafood is very popular, particularly in the “Low Country” of the Carolinas, and through the Gulf cost region. Savannah, Georgia and the Tybee Island area are known for excellent hush puppies the world around, and you can sample this Southern recipe at the annual Seafood Festival in the area.
A food that is a favorite southern recipe are Hush Puppies. The recipes for hushpuppies are simple, using only a handful of ingredients, but the combination of those ingredients makes the star of many a fish fry and barbecue. The hush puppy has many legends as to how it originated, a popular one being that it began as a dog treat, when during the Civil War Southern cooks fried scraps of cornbread batter and tossed them to barking dogs, with the call “Hush, puppy.” Because they require a good bit of oil, they are often prepared when oil is already going to be heated and used, like for fried shrimp or fish, so the oil doesn’t go to waste. Southern cooks are often economical in that way, and their recipes make the most of local ingredients to keep the costs down.
Recipes for hush puppies are simple, and can turn a fried fish or shrimp dinner into something special.
Makes 2 Dozen
Oil in a skillet, for frying
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 beaten egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 splash beer (optional)
Heat the oil in the skillet until medium hot. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Pour in the milk, water, egg, and splash of beer in and mix gently until just combined. The batter should be a little thicker than a pancake, but thinner than cornbread. Use a small ice cream scoop to portion the batter into hot oil, and allow the hushpuppies to brown, and float to the top of the oil. Make sure the puppies are golden and browned on all sides, flipping if necessary. Do this is small batches, so you don’t overcrowd the oil. Use a slotted spoon to remove, and drain on paper towels until serving.
Enjoy this classic southern recipe and share with your guests as the perfect accompaniment to your next fish fry.