Hush puppies are quite popular in Maryland and throughout the Southeast states. I haven’t noticed them out here in any California restaurants yet (I’m sure they’re somewhere!) and none of my born-and-raised CA friends knew what they were. If you haven’t heard of them, I’d describe it as fried spicy cornbread. Hush puppies are a common side dish at traditional seafood restaurants back East (at least where I went). They are quite easy to make and were a great addition to our crab feast.
Slightly adapted from Food & Wine
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
½-1 tsp cayenne pepper (the full tsp makes them pretty spicy)
½ tsp black pepper
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the wet ingredients. Mix well, cover and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (I chilled mine overnight.)
In a large, heavy bottomed pot (I used my Dutch oven) heat a few inches of vegetable oil to about 300°. While the oil heats up, place a cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with foil. Test the oil by dropping a small piece of bread into it–it should bubble up and the bread will turn golden brown. To make your hush puppies all the same size, I like to use a small cookie scoop to drop the batter into the oil. If you don’t have a small scoop, use 2 small spoons–you want them to be “2-bite” sized. Fry until the hush puppies are evenly browned on all sides (about 2 minutes), then place them on the prepared cooling rack to drain. After you take your first batch out of the oil, cut into one to make sure it is completely cooked on the inside, then adjust your frying time if needed. Serve warm.
Because I didn’t want to be frying when my guests were over, I fried the hush puppies a few hours before I was going to serve them. I kept them at room temperature, then reheated them in a 250° oven until they were hot.