Recipe and photo's by Melanie Hutti.
Father’s Day is a special Day on Gypsy Hill Farm in Kentucky where my family lives. My husband is a wonderful father, and like every wonderful father, deserves to be celebrated.
This year, I wanted to treat him with a meal that takes him to his favorite beachfront restaurant in South Carolina. We visit there whenever possible, and usually eat at his favorite place at least twice. The oyster po’ boys there are huge! It’s the only thing my husband orders, and he dreams of them all year. We love the fresh, salty air of the restaurant patio, and the sounds of the boats puttering in, with their nets full of ocean bounty.
Travel is limited due to Covid-19, which means we can’t go for a trip like we usually might like to. For this Father’s Day, I decided to bring the beach to him. Living in Kentucky, fresh oysters aren’t typically available. I did the next best thing: I made a trip to a local mushroom farmer, and picked out the most beautiful Golden Oyster mushrooms there. When battered and fried, they are a delicious substitute for the real thing. Holidays are not typically days that we watch our waistlines, and this was a perfect opportunity for a rare deep-fried Southern meal. Cooking them outside by the campfire was a welcomed break from our usual. We enjoyed them with the accompaniment of grilled corn, coleslaw, and jalapeño hush puppies, all of his favorite comfort foods.
Fresh air and a cozy fire pit was a perfect way to end Father’s Day. We treasure any time that we can stop for a moment and enjoy a nice meal together. Just thinking about our past family trips to the beach made us happy. The world slows down a little when you drink sweet tea, and Father’s Day was a perfect time to hit pause.
Jalapeño Hush Puppies
2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 tsp of salt
3 Tbsp of sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 17 oz can of cream style corn
Peanut oil for frying
While the peanut oil is heating over hot coals in a large Barebones Dutch Oven, mix the ingredients for the hush puppies:
- Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl, whisking lightly.
- Add the beaten eggs to the milk and then pour into dry cornmeal mixture, stirring until just moistened.
- Carefully stir in shredded cheese, peppers, onions, and undrained corn.
- When the oil has reached a temperature of 375 degrees , carefully drop rounded tablespoons of batter into the hot oil. Allow them to fry until golden brown.
- Remove hush puppies with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack or paper towels to cool.
- Serve with Tartar sauce, lemons, or hot sauce.
Golden Oyster Mushroom Po’ Boys
1 pound of Golden Oyster Mushrooms
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups fine yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt
1 quart peanut oil
- Place a Barebones Dutch Oven over medium-hot coals and add the oil.
- While the oil heats, clean the mushrooms by brushing them with a dry paper towel and then remove their tough stems. (Never wash mushrooms with water, unless you like a slimy mess.)
- Pour buttermilk in a medium-size bowl and add the mushrooms with a splash of hot sauce.
- Place the cornmeal, flour, creole seasoning, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Take the mushrooms, one at a time, and dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Toss gently and make sure that the mushroom is coated all over.
- Place the coated mushrooms on a metal cooling rack until all of them have been coated.
- Use a candy or deep-fry thermometer to test the oil temperature. When it has reached 375 degrees, carefully add the mushrooms, one at a time. It works best to only cook 6-8 at a time, so as not to crowd them.
- Let the mushrooms fry for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally or until they are golden brown and the edges are crispy.
- Use a slotted spoon and remove the mushrooms from the oil. Place on a paper towel to drain.
- Repeat until the rest of the mushrooms are cooked. Serve immediately with your favorite toasted French bread, finished with remoulade, hot sauce, shaved red cabbage, tomatoes, and pickles (or any of your favorite veggies).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Hutti is the stay-at-home gypsy of Gypsy Hill Farm located in central Kentucky. She loves to travel, but equally loves her time on her farm with her husband and two teenage sons. She is a full-time Occupational Therapist in the public schools, where she uses gardening as a therapeutic activity for her students with exceptional needs. She spends her evenings and summers off in her garden and behind the camera with her hobby photography business, Gypsy Hill Photography. She loves cooking, canning, and serving as a missionary in Haiti. She is a collector of hobbies and loves anything food and nature centered.