When I think of football food, I think of starch and meat and grease and calories. We had Rotel Dip (in Texas, we call it queso), Kaytie made sour cream and triple onion dip, I made a pan of King Arthur brownies, and Bethany made chili, all of which were great game-day staples.
Arthur just got back from Baton Rouge, where he had a field day in a seafood market. He showed up last night with crawfish boudin, hog's head cheese, and alligator nuggets, which he fried in our deep fryer.
Mmmm, deep fryer. I think I would eat cardboard or shoe leather if it were dipped in batter and deep fried. Mom gave us her old fryer when she decided it was not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. We don't use it enough, but I figured Super Bowl Sunday would be the perfect occasion.
The first task was potato chips for the onion dip. (Two Christmases back, we made sweet potato chips, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, covered with melted marshmallows.) No problem. Martin became the chip master, dropping them one by one, stirring to keep them from clumping, and seasoning them with Tony Chachere's. (Use a light hand; Tony's heavy on the salt.) Martin's verdict: just buy potato chips next time.
Next, we dropped Kaytie's chicken-thigh nuggets, which she served with a delicious buttermilk sauce. Arthur took a turn for his alligator nuggets, served with Chris's buffalo sauce.
We finished off with the tour de force: andouille corny dogs. (There's a long-standing debate in my house. Kaytie says they're corn dogs, but I grew up calling them corny dogs. I've done a little research. Though the origin of the corn-coated dog is less than definite, most people credit Fletcher's Corny Dogs, sold at the Texas State Fair since around 1940. I rest my case.)
Kaytie mixed the batter, I dipped the dogs, and Eleanor dipped the dogs after I deep-fried my index finger along with the first dog. Eleanor used tongs, which, in hindsight, as I type with my middle finger, is an idea that I heartily endorse.
Andouille Corny Dogs
(using Alton Brown's batter)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely minced
1 8.5-ounce can creamed corn
1/3 cup onion, grated
1.5 cups buttermilk
cornstarch, for dredging
2.25 lbs andouille sausage (or any smoked meat links)
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder & soda, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the jalapeno, corn, onion, and buttermilk. Mix just enough to get the batter together. There will be lumps. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes while you prepare the sausage and the deep fryer.
We used about a gallon of corn oil in our fryer. Alton recommends peanut oil, but peanut oil is expensive, and all you need is an oil with a high smoke point. Heat the oil to 375 degrees.
Cut the links into 2-3 inch pieces, and stab each piece with a chopstick. (You could use bamboo skewers, but this is a great way to use all of those wooden disposable chopsticks you've been saving from sushi takeout.)
Dredge the sausage in the cornstarch, lightly coating it. This will help the batter stick. Dip the dog in the batter, twirling to ensure sufficient coverage. (If you're using longer dogs, pour the batter in a drinking glass, and dip the dog vertically.) Transfer the dipped dog immediately to the hot oil, and fry to a beautiful golden brown. Drain for a couple minutes on paper towels.
Use caution before eating - they'll be hot.
We only used about 1.5 pounds of andouille, so there was plenty of batter left over, and the oil was still hot. Well, one thing led to another, and hush puppies were born. They were excellent, less dense than I normally expect from hush puppies, and if I ever have a fish fry, I'll be serving these.