Jamie and Kelly Kornegay turned me on to this recipe: spoonfuls of grated squash in cornmeal batter that blossom like sunflowers as they sizzle to a crisp brown. When it is not possible to eat all the squash that comes out of the backyard garden quickly enough, the Kornegays have admitted to leaving anonymous gifts on neighbors’ doorsteps under the cover of darkness. They, too, have been on the receiving end of this generous gesture. Kelly tried the recipe she got from a neighbor one particularly prolific summer, when she had exhausted her many other uses for crooknecked squash.
These are terrific with a grating of pecorino cheese over the top while warm. They’re also good served as an alternative to hush puppies at a fish fry.–Martha Hall Foose
☞ Table of Contents
LC Splayed Like a Sunflower Note
The author notes that this batter sort of blossoms like a sunflower when it’s dropped into hot oil. We have no doubt this happens for the lovely Ms. Martha Hall Foose, although let’s just say we’re still honing our technique. For now, saying that the golden-brown clumps we pulled from the hot oil resemble sunflowers is sort of like looking at a cloud and saying it resembles Johnny Depp. Which is to say, it just requires a smidgen of imagination. This is of little consequence, however, given how pleasing these lovely little hushpuppy-like treats are to the palate. (And if, by chance, any of your fritters resemble Johnny Depp, we expect you to take a picture and send it our way!)
Summer Squash Fritters
- 2 cups self-rising cornmeal (or substitute a scant 2 cups regular cornmeal, 2 tablespoons baking powder, and a generous pinch salt)
- 1/2 cup self-rising flour (or substitute 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and a generous pinch salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup grated onion
- 1 cup grated yellow summer squash
- 1 cup buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
- 1 large egg
- Vegetable oil for frying, (1 to 2 cups)
- In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, salt, and sugar to get out any lumps. In a separate bowl, combine the onion, squash, buttermilk, and egg. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat about 4 inches of oil in a deep pot or deep-fryer to 375°F (190°C). Set a wire rack over newspaper or paper towels.
- To fry the little blobs of batter, dip two spoons in the hot oil, then scoop up a spoonful of batter with one spoon and slide it into the hot oil using the other spoon. Do not stir the batter! Repeat to make more fritters, dipping the spoons again into the hot oil if the batter begins to stick. Don’t crowd the pan. Fry the squash fritters, turning as needed, until crisp and deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on the rack set over newspaper. Serve hot.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe makes hushpuppies. Very good hushpuppies —they’re light and moist. But I was expecting something a little different, more like a squash fritter. There was a lot more cornmeal batter in here than squash, so what you end up with is really just a hushpuppy with some squash in it. With a name like “sunflower squash,” I had been expecting a squash fritter bound together with a bit of hushpuppy batter, but these were all hushpuppy. I even used a bit more squash than called for. I looked up the recipe in the cookbook, and the photo showed something that looked “squashier,” which makes me think there may have been a mistake in the amount of squash called for. I think when I try these again, I’ll make half the batter. The hushpuppies were excellent, even if they weren’t what I was hoping for.
YUM! These little squash fritters were fabulous. With the abundance of summer squash out there right now, I was excited to try this unique recipe. I think even zucchini would work well here, too. I ended up shredding two small yellow squash which was probably more like 1 1/2 cups, not one, like the recipe reads. I would be tempted to try this recipe again with about two cups of shredded squash, and maybe reduce the cornmeal amount to 1 1/2 cups, just to give the dish some more of the squash and less batter. The seasonings were right on; I bet a couple of dashes of hot sauce in the batter would enhance the flavor as well. I really enjoyed making these, and am super excited to have leftovers!
This is so good, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. I grated the onion and really did not use as much as they called for, as grated onions get to be rather strong. I wanted the flavor of the squash to be the star of the recipe. Most fritter and hush puppy recipes tend to be dry and dense. This was so light it just melted in your mouth. I thought it needed a bit more salt. Probably some Tony’s in this neck of the woods. HUH????? I made half the recipe: there are generally three of us here, and the amount still went a long way. It would serve eight easily. The cooking times were right on, minus about one minute. Once you get to that temperature, the cooking goes rather fast. I sprinkled the fritters with some parmesan cheese, once I took them out. The spider works great. WHAT? Not only that, but I have this cookbook, so I could see the finished recipe. I mixed up the dry ingredients for the whole recipe, divided it, and saved half for another time. Time saved for another dinner. I will make this again, and also use the base recipe for ingredients like corn, carrots, etc.
With a little practice and a few helpful hints, this is a pretty easy recipe. I could not find (actually, I never even heard of) self-rising cornmeal, so I adjusted the recipe a little, and it was fine. They are a little different than I thought they would be — definitely more like hush puppies, and I expected more like a fritter. They did turn out delicious — I sprinkled a little parmesan on them and made homemade ranch dressing for dipping — tasty, tasty treat!
Helpful hints: I used 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, since I couldn’t find self-rising cornmeal — worked great.
One half of a cup of grated onion is about 1/2 medium onion.
Using more grated squash won’t hurt — in fact it makes them “bloom” a little more. I used two cups, and they were better than the batch made with one cup.
In step three, use teaspoons for the spoons called for — and make the fritters small. They get too dark if you make them too big, and won’t be done inside.
Totally Optional: Add one teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and increase salt to one teaspoon — really kicked up the flavor in the second batch. I know frying is kind of a pain, but these were good enough to make it worth it.
These little babies are delicious and versatile. The next day, I used the leftovers for brunch. Warm, runny poached eggs were amazing with these crisp beauties. I guess that’s what we do in New York with leftover southern hushpuppies. Love! To reheat, wrap loosely in aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Next time I will add a little more grated onion. That happens to be my favorite flavor in a fritter like this.
Originally published August 07, 2011