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You’ll find these crispy, cornmeal-based nuggets as a snack or side dish all over the South. The secret to achieving the perfect combination of crunchy exterior to soft interior lies in the temperature of the frying oil: Start the oil hot, around 375°F, then maintain a temperature of 325°F to 350°F while the hush puppies cook, a task made extra easy by the superior heat retention of a cast iron pot.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Recipe: Hush Puppies with Honey Butter

Yield: 4 servings

Instructions

1.

Make the honey butter: In a small bowl stir together the butter and honey with a fork until well blended. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce, if you want to make a spicy honey butter. Store at room temperature until ready to use.

2.

Make the hushpuppies: In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne. Add the onion, buttermilk, and melted butter and stir until just combined.

3.

Add 2 inches of oil (about 2 quarts) to a No.8 or No.10 Field Dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375°F. Working in batches, gently roll the hushpuppy dough into golf ball-sized balls and use a slotted spoon to carefully lower them into the hot oil. Fry the hushpuppies, turning them over occasionally, until deeply golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. The temperature of the oil should dip to 325°F to 350°F as the hush puppies cook; return to 375°F between batches.

4.

Serve warm with the honey butter or remoulade for dipping.


Seasoning Rating: Best

Frying is just about the best way to build seasoning in a cast iron Dutch oven.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.