Who doesn’t love a hushpuppy? What’s a hushpuppy you ask? You must not be from the South! Well, neither am I, but I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed them since I was a kid when visiting down south and in the almost south. There used to be a lovely family-style restaurant outside of Frederick, Maryland called the Peter Pan Inn. Dining there was an adventure!
This elegant old mansion was surrounded by meandering stone paths through lush gardens of roses and tall, tall trees. Noisy, stately, colorful peacocks strutted throughout the grounds, the males spreading their magnificent tails to our delight. High-ceilinged former living and dining rooms with tall, huge fireplaces, and slate-floored sunrooms were transformed into someplace really special to enjoy meals of fried chicken or crabcakes or steaks. All the dinners were served family-style passing big bowls filled with all those traditional southern side dishes we loved, including hushpuppies. Those lovely little oval nuggets of light and airy corn batter, studded with corn kernels and just a smidgen of onion, deep-fried to a golden brown and then lightly dusted with powdered sugar were the star of the dining show!
Craving hushpuppies for so many years after being diagnosed with celiac disease, I finally came up with a gluten-free version. My other perennial Maryland craving is for beautiful Maryland blue crabs, steamed to a spicy bright red with sweet snow white meat contained inside. The outcome of both cravings resulted in these beautiful, light gluten-free crab and corn hushpuppies that absolutely melt in your mouth.
Here is the recipe along with an Old Bay dipping sauce that accents the flavor of the hushpuppies. You’ll notice I start with a cornbread mix to make these extra easy. I hope you enjoy making an old favorite that you’ve missed, too…or if you’ve never tried them before, they might just become one of your very own favorites.
- 12 oz. gluten-free cornbread mix (I use Gluten-Free Pantry brand, to make a non-gluten-free version, use 2 6 oz. Jiffy or Washington mixes)
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup sour cream (or Fage 0% fat Greek yogurt)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp Old Bay Seafood seasoning
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. fresh crabmeat — claw meat is fine, picked through for shell and cartilage
- ⅓ cup green onions, sliced well into the green
- ¾ cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned
- canola oil — enough to come half-way up the sides of a cast iron skillet
- Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a cast iron skillet (or use your favorite deep fryer).
- Lightly mix the cornbread mix, buttermilk, sour cream, egg and spices and then very gently mix in the rest of the ingredients. Do not over mix to keep these as light as possible.
- When the oil is to temp, using a tablespoon, take a rounded mound of batter and gently drop the batter into the oil as close to the surface as possible. (The closer to the oil you are, the lower the risk of being on the receiving end of a hot oil splash. But also be sure not to get so close that you deep-fry a finger or thumb!)
- Don’t put too many in the pan at once, be sure there’s enough room for the oil to circulate. Turn the hushpuppies over after just a few seconds and then turn occasionally until both sides are golden brown. Remove hushpuppies with a slotted spoon or spider and place on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Keep them warm in a 300 degree oven until all the hushpuppies are done.