New Year's Heavenly Puffs: Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade Sauce

Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

These. Are. Amazing. What are crab hush puppies you ask? Succulent little bite-sized hush puppies stuffed full of sweet Dungeness crab plus fresh herbs, minced bell pepper, and beer-scented, cornmeal-spiked batter. Assuming that you purchase the crabmeat already pulled from the shell, they are also a snap to put together. But you might want to reserve these for your inner circle: they really are that good. (When I was testing them, they went in an instant.)

If you are uninitiated with hush puppies--fried rounds of cornmeal batter that are most often served alongside seafood--you are in for a real Southern treat. I grew up on these nuggets, and living on the west coast, where they are virtually unheard of, I truly miss seeing them on menus. Granted, there are numerous heavy, stodgy, overfried and underseasoned versions out there. But when you get a good one...Oh! They are soooooooo good. This version takes that sometimes homely hush puppy to a new level.

Served with an easy-to-make tangy remoulade sauce, in true Southern style, these will be a hit at your next gathering, whether it’s New Year’s Eve or anytime during crab season.

Don’t let the fact that these are deep-fried put you off. It’s honestly not that hard, and you can fry them up just before guests arrive, then keep them warm in your oven (on a heatproof platter at 200F). Pull them out within an hour though, and watch them disappear.

Ingredients for Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Ingredients for Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

Recipe: Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade

Makes about 2 dozen bites

    Ingredients:
    For the remoulade:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Creole or country mustard
  • 1 tbsp bread-and-butter pickle juice
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp hot sauce such as Crystal brand
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
    For the crab hush puppies:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fine grind cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 2 tbsp very finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup pilsner-style beer
  • 1/2 lb fresh lump crabmeat, picked
  • Vegetable oil
    Instructions:
  1. To make the remoulade: Whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to let the flavors meld.

  • To make the crab hush puppies: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the green onions, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, egg, and beer. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir just until combined. Fold in the crab meat. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • In a Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of about 2 inches and heat to 360°F on a deep-fry thermometer (make sure the oil comes no more than halfway up the side of the pot). Working in batches, drop the batter by the tablespoonful into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown, turning once, about 4 minutes. (Test the first one that comes out to make sure it is cooked through, then use that timing and golden brown color for the remaining.)
  • Drain on paper towels, then serve at once with remoulade.
  • Drain on paper towels, then serve at once with remoulade. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
    Drain on paper towels, then serve at once with remoulade
    Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
    Crab Hush Puppies with Remoulade. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

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