Fry up some hush puppies – to go with a gin-based drink – inspired by the Best Picture contender

By Alison Schwartz
Updated February 16, 2013 10:45 AM
Credit: Courtesy Nitehawk; Inset: Fox Searchlight

With Feb. 24’s 2013 Academy Awards drawing closer, there’s no better time to whet your appetite for all things movies – literally.

Embrace your inner film buff one bite at a time starting with one of this year’s Best Picture nominees: Beasts of the Southern Wild. You’ll take a trip to the bayous of Louisiana courtesy of Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema, which is serving up Oscar contender-inspired dishes to moviegoers in celebration of the film industry’s biggest night.

Pair your po’ boy and hush puppies with an adults-only beverage. (Yup, that means the movie’s 9-year-old star (and youngest Best Actress nominee ever), Quvenzhané Wallis, couldn’t quite indulge in this gin-based treat.)

Fried Oyster Po’ Boy with Hush Puppies and a Spicy Remoulade

Servings: 4

• 20 shucked oysters, cleaned
• 2 cups buttermilk
• Salt and pepper
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 3 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
• 6 cups canola oil
Marinate oysters in buttermilk, salt and pepper for at least an hour. Mix flour with Old Bay. Heat canola oil in a pot large enough that the oil only fills it half way to 350ºF over medium heat. Use a candy thermometer to keep track of temperature. Remove oysters from buttermilk, dredge in seasoned flour, and fry in canola oil until crispy and golden brown. Season with salt when oysters are removed from the oil. Let oysters drain on paper towels. Serve on a toasted baguette. Cut into four pieces with hush puppies and remoulade. (See recipes below.)

Remoulade• 4 oz. Dijon mustard
• 2 oz. ketchup
• ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tsp. prepared horseradish
• 1 clove garlic
• ½ tsp. lemon juice
• 2 tsp. black pepper
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 stalk of celery, chopped
• 2 tbsp. parsley, cleaned and chopped
• ¼ Spanish onion, chopped
• 2 tbsp. paprika
• 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Pinch of chili flake
• Salt and pepper
Puree all items in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste.

Hush Puppies• 2 scallions, chopped
• ¼ Spanish onion, diced
• 2 eggs
• 6 oz. buttermilk
• 4 oz. bacon fat
• 2 tbsp. baking soda
• 4 tbsp. baking powder
• 2 cups cornmeal
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 oz. sugar
• 1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
• Salt and pepper
• 6 cups canola oil
Mix scallions, onion, baking soda, baking powder, cornmeal, flour, sugar, Old Bay, and salt and pepper well. In a small pot, melt bacon fat and set aside. Add the buttermilk and eggs into dry ingredients until incorporated, making sure not to over-mix. Slowly add in melted bacon fat. Let batter rest for 20 minutes. Over medium heat, pour the canola oil in a pot large enough that the oil only fills it halfway to 350ºF, using a candy thermometer to monitor temperature. Using a small cookie scoop, spoon batter into oil, making sure not to overcrowd the oil. Fry until golden and cooked through, about three to four minutes.

Wink s Bathtub Gin

Makes one cocktail

  • 1.5 oz gin (recipe recommends Bulldog Gin)
  • ¾ oz. Lillet Blanc
  • ½ oz. crème de cacao liqueur
  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Add all ingredients to an ice-filled pint glass. Shake well and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass.

The 85th annual Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.