"If it ain't fried, it ain't died." That was something my Daddy would say from time to time when faced with all the "Nouvelle Cuisine" in vogue during my teenage years. He was only joking, of course. He enjoyed lots of things that weren't fried, but frying was a primary way to prepare food in the traditional Southern kitchen.
One meal that was always welcome was fish and hush puppies. Hush Puppies are little fried balls of cornmeal with a little onion thrown in for good measure. Most people today are quite familiar with hush puppies thanks to chain fish restaurants. But, you ain't had pups till you have made them at home! That's especially true if your only exposure has been the bags of of frozen rocks sold in grocery stores!
Supposedly, the name "Hush Puppy" came about from the practice of cooking them ahead of time and carrying them when camping. When the hunting dogs would get restless a few would be tossed to the dogs with the admonition "Hush puppies!"
Now, I have no firm documentation of that beyond a little story in Charleston Receipts but it sounds as good as anything.
So, here's how to make real hush puppies to complement your meal. These are great when served with freshwater fish like catfish, bream or crappie that has been dipped in a corn meal, flour and milk mixture with a little salt and pepper and fried.
2 cups Corn Meal
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
6 tbsp. chopped onion (I like to use green onion cut very fine)
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. Baking Powder
2 cups Buttermilk
A little red pepper or black pepper to taste.
Heat oil in pan or deep fryer to about 375 degrees. Oil must be deep enough to deep fry. Mix all dry ingredients together well. Add in chopped onion. Beat milk and egg together and add to dry ingredients. Mix well to make a thick batter. It will be rather sticky but should hold together nicely and not be soupy. Drop by small spoon into hot grease. Hush puppies will float to surface when done. Remove when they are dark golden brown in color. Drain on paper towels. This will serve about 6-8 people as a side dish.