Old Bay Hushpuppies

As we have talked about, biscuits go well with chowder. Now, from our early New England history, hush puppies make a nice side to chowder, and other seafood offerings. There are many different ways to make hush puppies from the simple to the complex. I like to keep things simple most of the time but I like to add seasoning, in this case old bay seasoning to the dry mix to flavor them up. They are a quick and simple fried corn batter ball originally attributed to the Indians of the Carolinas these were quickly adopted by the colonists of America and early New England fishing communities. They are a staple of southern cooking and popular in ‘fried foods’ restaurants today.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp old bay seasoning
  • Frying oil, select something with a high or medium high smoke point

Using a deep pot, preheat oil for frying to 350 degrees F.

Using a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and seasoning. Stir in the onion. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and egg. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until blended.

Drop the batter, 1 teaspoon at a time, into the oil. Dip the spoon in a glass of water after each hush puppy is dropped in the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning the hush puppies during the cooking process.

Transfer the finished pup to a paper towel for draining.

Blue Point Oyster Stuffing

Oyster stuffing makes a wonderfully flavorful side dish. Oyster stuffing, or in this case, dressing (I don’t cook this in a turkey), has had a long and storied existence here on Long Island. From per-colonial times right through the near recent past it had enjoyed a regional popularity. However, with declined in the shellfish population of the late 1900’s, and declination of domestic culinary skills (personal observation), store-bought off the shelf stuffing surpassed to historic side-dish. But, with sustainable farming of oysters, especially our local blue point variety, its well time to rediscover this culinary accompaniment.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 40 medium oysters, such as bluepoints,  shucked (about 1 lb.), with 1 cup of the liquor reserved
  • 11 cups 1⁄2″ cubed white French bread (about 14 oz.)
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1⁄4″ strips
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for
  • greasing the pan
  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1⁄4 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 1⁄3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First we need to dry out the bread; heat the oven to 250˚. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake, stirring occasionally, until dried but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Now, lets build the stuffing; put the bacon into a 12″ skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Add 4 tbsp. of the butter and heat. Add shallots and celery, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add oyster liquor, stock, wine, parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the bread cubes and oysters. Set aside to allow the flavors to come together for 10 minutes.

Now bake the final product; raise the oven temperature to 400˚. Put the  mixture into a lightly buttered 2-qt. oval baking dish and cover with foil. I use the oval to avoid the ‘hot spots’ that build up in the corners of rectangular dishes. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue baking until golden brown and crusty, about 20 minutes more. Serve immediately, with the rest of the Duck Walk wine…

and remember to enjoy sustainable oysters often –Oyster Sustainability – Monterey Aquarium

Patriots Patties

Patriots Patties… a simple main course burger made from Salmon… fresh from the sea, or canned, it’s a New England coastal variation on the usual burger.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 can (14-3/4 oz.) salmon
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 3 egg whites

Drain salmon. Combine soy sauce and mustard. Blend salmon with bread crumbs, onions, and soy sauce mixture. Mix in egg whites. Form mixture into 4 patties and grill or broil until golden brown and heated through. Serve each burger on a bun with lettuce, tomato slices and the usual accompaniments.

Now, get back to the game…