December 9, 2013

Carolina style hush puppies w/honey butter: now frying up at Clover

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Here’s Azeb with our latest 3pm special. There are a lot of myths behind why hush puppies are called hush puppies. Some say hunters and fisherman would feed their hunting dogs the left over batter from their fried fish lunch to keep them quiet on the hunt, but I have also heard stories that Civil War Soldiers would do the same during the war to keep the begging dogs quiet. The batter is similar to a Johnny cake (a more Northern treat) or a hoe cake (real southern treat); called hoe cake because southern farmers and field hands would cook the corn cake over a fire and use a hoe as a hot plate. This same batter was used to fry fish, and the left overs where then fried up as scraps for the dogs.

I was raised in a small sailing community south of DC in Southern Maryland. We spent our summers growing up going on trips to the Carolinas, having crab feasts with our large family on the Chesapeake Bay and having dinners of corn on the cob, tomatoes from my mothers garden, green beans and mashed potatoes with my grandparents on their big back porch. My favorite thing about all these memories included hush puppies. My grandmother used to make hers more savory with green scallions in the batter and we would eat them with cocktail sauce and oysters or soft crab fried sandwiches for dinner. My parents always took us to these awful historical sites which looking back I am pretty grateful for (I learned a lot about food this way and it made school easier) but it was always the food I was excited about on our trips.

The Carolina style I was used to were always sweeter than the savory version my grandmother would make at home in MD. My aunt Trisha said 100 times to me in my life that it was the honey in the batter at the Crab House we used to frequent, that made them pillowy and she was right! In the development of this recipe at Clover, anytime we added honey to the batter it would just puff up like pillows. We are serving these Carolina style puppies with honey butter just like I remember them from our summer trips.

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