Mississippi-Style Hush Puppies

When Ben Mims, SAVEUR's associate kitchen director, was growing up in rural Mississippi, hush puppies, crisp balls of fried corn bread batter (said to have received their moniker from their ability to shush barking dogs on the rural farms of Dixie), were as common a side dish as mashed potatoes in every other state. Always served with tartar sauce alongside crisp, cornmeal-fried catfish and tangy coleslaw, they make up a trinity of Southern staples to be found in almost every restaurant in the South that doesn't sport white tablecloths or glass stemware. This recipe, from the Carmack Fish House in Vaiden, Mississippi, uses an overleavened batter to produce a crisper outside shell that encases a miraculously moist, oniony center. Serve with tartar sauce and fried catfish.