Friday, August 16, 2013

Crab, Jalapeño & Goat Cheese Hushpuppies

Hushpuppies are savoury round dumplings made with cornmeal batter that are deep-fried and traditionally served as a side dish with fried catfish, fried shrimp, seafood or barbecued dishes. Also know as Corn Dodgers, they're especially popular throughout the southern United States. The oldest story is that hushpuppies were created by a group of Ursuline nuns who had come to New Orleans from France around 1727. The nuns converted cornmeal into a delicious food that they named Croquettes de Maise. Other legends attribute the etymology of the term "hushpuppies" to the American Civil War, in which soldiers are claimed to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of Confederate dogs, essentially to hush the puppies so they could eat in peace.

Cornbread was popular during the Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and forms and could be fashioned into high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried for a fast meal. These delicious little Crab, Jalapeño & Goat Cheese Hushpuppies are definitely not low calorie, but every now and then, it's fun to splurge on something so divinely decadent!

Crab, Jalapeño & Goat Cheese Hushpuppies
Makes 24-30

3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp finely minced white onion
1 tbsp finely minced scallion
1 tbsp finely chopped & seeded jalapeño, from a jar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp melted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup lump crabmeat, finely shredded
vegetable oil for frying

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, onion and scallions until well mixed. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until most of the flour mixture is moistened and forms a lumpy dough. Then add the crab, goat cheese and jalapeno, and mix together thoroughly, until it resembles a stiff batter. Using a deep pot, preheat oil for frying to about 350°F.

Cook in small batches of 4 or 5 to maintain the oil temperature, and dip the spoon in a glass of water after each hushpuppy is dropped into the oil. Scoop the mixture by rounded tablespoons into the hot oil. After about 10 seconds, the hushpuppies will float to the top and begin to brown. Cook until golden, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes, then using slotted spoon, transfer them to paper towels. They can be held in a 200°F oven until serving time, or can be made up to 2 hours ahead, and simply rewarmed in a 375°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes until they become crisp. Serve hot with a spicy chipotle mayonnaise, and enjoy!

Chipotle Mayonnaise
Makes about 1 cup

1 cup mayonnaise
3 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tbsp adobo sauce
1/2 lime, juiced

Add all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.