Serves 10 people


For the Hush Puppies

1 cup tasso ham, diced fine
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs
1 ½ cup buttermilk, shaken
¼ cup fresh chives, minced
½ cup cheddar, grated
¾ cup fresh corn kernels
Dash of cayenne pepper

2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

For the Ketchup

4 cups canned tomato, pureed
1 onion, small dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Special Equipment

Heavy pot for frying
Paper towels
Pastry bag


For the Hush Puppies

Cook the tasso ham in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain.  Heat oil in a large heavy pot over high heat until it reaches 375°F on thermometer.  While oil is heating, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together egg and milk in a small bowl, then add to cornmeal mixture and stir until combined. Stir in tasso ham, chives, corn kernels and cheddar until just combined.  Working in small batches, carefully add 1 tablespoon of batter per hush puppy to hot oil and fry, turning, until golden, 1-2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain briefly.  A pastry bag filled with the batter might be a good option, too. Return oil to 375°F between batches.

For the Ketchup

Cook onion in oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until softened, about 8 minutes. Add puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour.

Purée ketchup in a blender until smooth. Cover and chill.

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