Deviled Crab Hush Puppy Waffle

Fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, this is the best crab hush puppy you’ve never had — no frying necessary.

Yield: 6-8 platter servings or 10-14 appetizer servings. Number of waffles will vary depending on
the size of your waffle iron.

2 cups hush puppy mix
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (like Old Bay)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
½ cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced sweet onion
1 cup club soda
½ pound cooked lump crabmeat

1. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. In another bowl, stir together remaining ingredients except crab. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir to blend. Gently fold in crab. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes while the waffle iron heats.

2. Preheat waffle iron on highest setting. Once heated, grease the iron with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Spoon mixture onto hot iron, spreading into a thin layer with the back of a spoon. Close iron and check at 5 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on waffle irons. For softer, cake-like waffles, remove and keep warm in oven when lightly browned (about 5 minutes). For crispier waffles, spread batter thinner and cook longer, until a dark chestnut brown (about 10 minutes).

Note: When making for a crowd, preheat oven and baking pan to 250º. As waffles are done, place on baking pan in warm oven. Waffles can be made ahead of time, frozen, and heated in the oven or toaster oven.

Pickled Seafood Medley

North Carolina flavors — peaches, pickles, and local seafood — get the South American treatment in this Southern twist on ceviche.

Yield: 6-8 platter servings or 12-16 appetizer servings.

2 pounds fresh fish and shellfish, such as medium cleaned shrimp, bay scallops, squid, and firm fish (such as tuna, snapper, mahimahi, or sea bass), rinsed and cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup sweet pickle juice
2 tablespoons local honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon pickling spice, tied in cheesecloth
½ cup diced watermelon rind pickle
½ cup okra pickle, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 large peach, peeled and diced
1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. In a nonreactive (glass or stainless steel)bowl, combine lime juice, pineapple juice, pickle juice, honey, salt, pepper, and pickling spices to create a brine.

2. Put fish and seafood into large nonreactive bowl. Pour brine over seafood. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours, until the seafood is firm and opaque. The brine will “cook” the seafood, but if preferred, blanch before adding the brine.

3. About 2 hours before serving, stir in pickles, vegetables, fruit, and parsley. Serve chilled and keep cool.

Note: Always use fresh, clean seafood. Choose fish that’s mild and not too strong-tasting.

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Wendy Perry is a recipe developer, personal chef, and Franklin County native.