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Squash Puppies

July 15, 2014

Squash puppies

My love affair with hush puppies began early.  It’s one of my strongest taste memories from childhood (along with chocolate tofu ice cream — I wasn’t allowed to have dairy as a kid).  These days, my favorite hush puppies come from Terrebonne, a cajun/creole restaurant in downtown Lawrence.  They’re big and a little spicy, with chunks of corn and peppers.

Last night, I was scratching my head for a side dish to go with our dinner.  I also had a bunch of summer squash in the fridge that my mom sent home with me this weekend, so I decided to make some fritters.  When I saw the peppers, corn, and green onions in the crisper drawer, inspiration struck.

Normally for a fritter, I shred the vegetables on the coarse side of a box grater.  But I really wanted the squash to have a smoother texture here so the chunks of corn and pepper would shine like they do in Terrebonne’s hush puppies, so I finely shredded the squash instead.  I also used a fine mesh sieve and a wooden spoon to press as much water as possible out of the squash, but it was still a little wet — this allowed me to skip the egg I would normally add for binding, making these squash puppies vegan!  They could also easily be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour blend.

Squash Puppies

makes 8-10 fritters

1 medium (or 2 small) yellow summer squash – ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out
2 mini sweet red peppers (or 1/2 a large red bell pepper) – finely chopped
1 small to medium-sized ear of sweet corn – kernels removed
2 green onions – finely chopped
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1-2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (I used 1 tsp, but I think I would’ve liked a little more spice)
vegetable oil, for frying

Using a box grater, finely shred the squash.  Place the shredded squash in a fine mesh sieve and press on it with the back of a wooden spoon, to squeeze out as much liquid as possible (do this over a bowl, so you can add the liquid back to the batter later, if it’s too dry).  Let sit 5-10 minutes, then press on the squash again.  Put the squash in a medium-size bowl, and stir together with the peppers, corn, green onions, flour, and Old Bay.  Mixture should hold together when shaped into a small patty (about 2″ in diameter).  If the mixture is too wet, you may need to add a little more flour.  If the mixture is too dry, add a little bit of the reserved squash liquid.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Shape batter into 2″ patties and gently drop into pan.  Fry 3-4 minutes per side, until deep golden brown.  Keep them small when shaping, and be very careful when flipping — the batter WILL hold together, but the lack of egg makes them a little fragile.  Drain on paper towels.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2014 3:03 pm

    I’m not sure I have had a hush puppy before though I love the name. Maybe I had one once at the Cracker Barrel when I was visiting my Grandma in Missouri. I have a little squash plant here and if it gives me so some squash I will have to try this. Or maybe I’ll just buy some 🙂

    • whitney marie permalink*
      July 15, 2014 3:15 pm

      Wow, you’ve never had one before?? I guess I take them for granted because, although I know they’re Southern, I’ve always eaten them here in Kansas. (And lol, I just ate at the Cracker Barrel literally three days ago!) The hush puppies at Terrebonne are a little different from most hush puppies I’ve ever had before…they’re spicier and they’ve got the little chunks of stuff. But I really like them that way! These squash puppies don’t really have the same fluffy texture as hush puppies, but the flavor is really similar to the ones at Terrebonne.

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