John and Elise Russ created an inventive Southern-inspired menu for their San Antonio restaurant, Clementine, which opened earlier this year to rave reviews. There are many reasons for that—the restaurant's bright, airy space; approachable, unpretentious food; a varied yet intentional wine list—but their take on hush puppies alone would be enough cause for celebration.
Note that the coffee and sumac will darken the color of the labneh spread after a day or so, and that you can store it in the refrigerator for a few days to use as a sandwich spread or to garnish a grain bowl.
Recipe adapted from John Russ, Clementine, San Antonio, TX
Yield: Around 2 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
For the Labneh Spread:
2 cups labneh
3 tablespoons minced parsley
3 tablespoons minced mint
3 tablespoons minced dill
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño, habanero or Thai bird chiles
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon coffee grinds
Zest of 2 lemons
Salt, to taste
For the Hush Puppies:
8 cups oil (such as peanut), for frying
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup chickpea flour
1 cup cooked split chickpeas (or roughly chopped canned chickpeas)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
1 tablespoon sambal
1 small onion, minced
3 green onions, sliced thin
½ cup buttermilk, more if needed
Honey, to serve
1. Make the labneh spread: In a large bowl, combine all the labneh ingredients and season with salt. Meanwhile, heat a pot of oil to 350°.
2. Make the hush puppies: In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, chickpea flour, cooked chickpeas, sugar, baking powder, kosher salt, sambal and onions. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and buttermilk.
3. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together and form into balls. Fry until golden brown, around 3 minutes. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Repeat until all the batter is used.
4. To serve, spread about 2 tablespoons of labneh on a plate, top with a mound of hush puppies and drizzle with honey.