Smoked Mullet was going to be our main course tonight and I really wanted some Conch Fitters to go along with the fish. However, you can no longer buy fresh Conch in the United States and the imported stuff costs an "arm and a leg" (like $98 USD for 5 lbs)! My second choice was Hush Puppies. Since I have not made them for a long time, I looked up some recipes on line and I came across a House-Autry recipe for hush puppies that were made with canned clams instead of fresh conch. There recipe was a little too bland for my liking, so I modified it and came up with "CLAM PUPPIES," sort of a cross between clam or conch fritters and could old southern style hush puppies.
While I believe that my "puppies" are more of a side dish than an appetizer, they are probably not a main dish, so . . . whatever you want to call them, here they are!!!
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Step 1: INGREDIENTS
The ingredients are simple enough:
- 1 lb (16 ounces) *House-Autry Hushpuppy Mix with Onion
- 3 Cans (6-1/2 oz each) Chopped Clams; Reserve Juice
- 4 Large Green Onions with tops, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or a couple of fresh Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and finely chopped)
- 1 TBS (or more) Garlic Powder
- Oil for frying (see step 2)
*If you cannot find House-Autry Hushpuppy Mix (with or without Onion), you can use almost any good hushpuppy mix, or even make your own out of a mixture of cornmeal and white flour.
Step 2: DIRECTIONS
- Preheat Oil in a deep fryer or large, deep skillet to 375 degrees F. Since the oil will get very hot, leave at least 2" of space at the top of the fryer or pan. It is recommended that you use frying oil with a high smoking point, like peanut, sunflower or canola oil. (I used vegetable oil without any problem).
- In a large bowl, combine the hushpuppy mix, chopped clams, green onions, pepper flakes, garlic powder, and reserved clam juice. Stir until well combined. *The mixture should be "sticky" enough to stick to a soup spoon without sliding off, but definitely not runny.
- If you don't have a deep fry oil thermometer, you can test the oil by dropping a little piece of dough into the hot oil. If it browns nicely after 60 seconds, the oil is ready.
- Take two soup spoons - one for the batter and one to slide it off the spoon into the hot oil. **Take one spoon of batter, flatten it a little with the other spoon, and carefully slide it into the hot oil. Cook for a few minutes until golden brown; then remove the Clam Puppies with a slotted spoon or wire strainer with a long handle and place on paper towels on a wire rack or in a wicker basket to drain.
*I began this recipe using 2 cans (6-1/2 oz cans) of chopped clams, but when I mixed all of the ingredients together, I found the mixture to be too dry, so I added another 6-1/2 oz can of chopped clams, with juice, to the mixing bowl in order to arrive at the right consistency.
*Don't make your individual "puppies" too thick, or they may not be cooked all the way through even though they are golden brown.
Step 3: TIME TO EAT . . .
I served the Clam Puppies along side some freshly smoked mullet (Recipe for smoked mullet will follow soon), along with a frosty mug of Michelob's Ultra Lime Cactus Beer. Ummm Good!
I find it difficult to accurately estimate the calories and carbs in one serving of Clam Puppies (about 3 of them) because they were deep-fried, however, based on the ingredients and usage of cooking oil I believe that each individual "puppy" has about 92 calories and 17 carbs, or 276 calories and 51 carbs per serving.