As Cheddar ages, its flavor sharpens. The mildest are aged for only 2 to 3 months, but Cheddar can be aged for upwards of 2 years or more.
Aged-Cheddar Hush Puppies
- 2-3/4 cups (6-3/4 oz.) fine stone-ground cornmeal (preferably Indian Head)
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1-1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1-1/2 cups coarsely grated aged Cheddar, preferably Kerry Gold (use the largest holes on a box grater)
- 1/4 cup finely sliced chives
- 8 to 10 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, the baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and milk. Fold in the cheese and chives with a spatula. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together gently until just combined. The batter will be very thick. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, affix a deep fat/candy thermometer to the side of a 5-1/2- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot. Pour in the oil and heat to 350°F.
- Using a 1-1/4-inch ice cream scoop, scoop slightly heaping balls of batter and gently lower into the hot oil. Fry 6 to 8 pieces at a time so as not to overcrowd the pot. Fry to a deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. If the balls begin to stick together during the frying process, gently separate them with a slotted spoon.
- Remove the hush puppies from the oil and keep warm on the prepared rack in the oven until all the hush puppies are fried. Serve right away.