Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic

This week I have chosen to cover hush puppies. A hush puppy is a savory food item that is commonly served as a side dish. It consists of a cornmeal batter and is typically deep fried or baked in ball form. The first recorded reference to the word “hush puppy” dates back to 1899. The name is believed to be derived from when cooks, hunters and or fishermen would feed them to the dogs to “hush the puppies.”

Traditional hush puppy recipe

1 cup​Cornmeal
½ cup​All purpose flour
1 whole​Egg, beaten
¾ cup​Buttermilk
1 tsp​Salt
1 tsp​Sugar
1 tsp​Baking powder
1 tsp​Baking soda
to fry in​Cooking oil

In a large metal pot over medium-high heat, pour oil and allow it to come to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, add all your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add in your beaten egg and slowly pour in the buttermilk until the batter is combined and is one consistency. Once the oil has come to temp, drop teaspoon-sized balls of batter into the oil and allow to cook until golden brown. Once golden brown, remove and place on a draining rack or onto paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Serve warm.

Jonathan’s hush puppy recipe

1 cup​Cornmeal
½ cup​All purpose flour
1 whole​Egg, beaten
¾ cup​Buttermilk
1 cup​Pancetta, diced, fat rendered (reserve the fat)
¼ cup​Onion, chopped
¼ cup​Green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp​Sea salt
1 tsp​Fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp​Sweet paprika
¼ tsp​Cayenne pepper
1 tsp​Sugar
1 tsp​Baking powder
1 tsp​Baking soda
to fry in​Cooking oil

In a large metal pot over medium-high heat, pour oil and allow it to come to 375 degrees. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add your reserved pancetta fat and allow to warm. Place your onions and peppers into the pan. Cook until onions are translucent. Set aside. Meanwhile, add all your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add your vegetables, pancetta and reserved fat. Mix thoroughly. Add in your beaten egg and slowly pour in the buttermilk until the batter is combined and one consistency. Once oil has come to temp, drop teaspoon-sized balls of batter into the oil and allow to cook until golden brown. Once golden brown, remove and place on a draining rack or onto paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Serve warm.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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