Pillowy balls of cornmeal studded with tart tomato pieces – these fried green tomato hush puppies are the perfect mashup of two Southern staples.
I’ll nearly always order fried green tomatoes if I spot them on a menu. Served with a ranch or remoulade, they have the unique ability to be both fried and fresh at the same time, but they are also quite hazardous to consume. Much like the threat of molten cheese, a lava-esque flow of searing tomato flesh sits beneath a thin cornmeal crust, just waiting to inflict major oral trauma for those not patient or sensible enough to wait out the cooling period.
I also really like hush puppies, in theory. Fried nuggets of cornmeal always sound like a good idea. Until they are underseasoned. Without a significant hit of salt and sugar, regular hush puppies have the capacity to seriously underwhelm your tastebuds. You can definitely add additional ingredients to them to jazz them up a little, like jalapeno. But between becoming smoked chipotles and being stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon, jalapeno peppers already have enough duties on their plates.
But, what if we harness the strength of the tomatoes, with the goodness of the hush puppies, and combine them to make one almighty snack?! Yes please! It just makes sense. The hush puppy batter is like a the ultimate improvement on the traditional FGT coating; retaining the corn flavor and grainy texture, but hugging the tomato pieces with a soft cushion of deliciousness, instead of falling away like a broken shell.
All in all, unlike some collaborations that don’t work all that well (ahem Snoop and Willie), the union of green tomatoes and hush puppies is a true thing of beauty.
Recipe: fried green tomato Hush Puppies
6 cups of vegetable oil for frying
2 medium to large green tomatoes
1.5 cups yellow cornmeal
0.25 cup all purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 small onion, finely chopped.
- Put oil in heavy based saucepan or pot, and heat to a temperature of 365-375f.
- Chop the tomatoes into medium-sized chunks. Discard some of the ‘wet seeds’ as you are preparing the tomato, you’re really only looking to use the flesh.
- In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the centre of the mixture then add in egg and buttermilk, stirring until just combined. Finally, stir in onion and tomato until evenly mixed.
- Drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil, and use a skimmer to flip over after a few minutes, to brown both sides. Once golden brown, remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain. Work in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. Allow the oil to come back up to optimum temperature between batches.
- Serve cooked hush puppies while still warm.