Ham and Cheddar Hushpuppies
From Cook's Country
Too much cornmeal made the Ham and Cheddar Hushpuppies dense and gritty, while too much flour made them cakey. After a handful of tests, we determined quantities that balanced these two extremes. For the liquid component, tasters preferred the slight tang of buttermilk to water and milk. Once we settled on buttermilk, it made sense to add baking soda. Not only did soda react with the acidic buttermilk to produce a lighter hushpuppy, but it also helped brown it for the requisite crunchy crust. Allowing the batter to rest at room temperature before frying gave it time to thicken.
Many recipes for called for frying the Ham and Cheddar Hushpuppies in lard. We opted for peanut or vegetable oil, which are far more likely to be on hand these days.
Makes about 25
Avoid coarsely ground cornmeal, which will make the hushpuppies gritty. If you don't have buttermilk, whisk 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice into 3/4 milk and let it stand for 10 minutes.
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