1. Pour oil to depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Combine cornmeal and next 3 ingredients. Add egg and buttermilk; stir just until moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry, in 3 batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Keep warm in a 200° oven.
TRY THESE TWISTS Bacon-and-Caramelized Onion Hush Puppies: Increase onion to 1 1/2 cups. Cook 5 bacon slices in a medium skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp; drain bacon on paper towels, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon. Sauté onion in hot drippings over medium-low heat 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Proceed with recipe as directed, stirring in onion and bacon with cornmeal mix in Step 1. Jalapeño-Pineapple Hush Puppies: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 1/2 cup canned pineapple tidbits and 2 to 3 Tbsp. seeded and diced jalapeño pepper with cornmeal mix in Step 1. Shrimp-and-Corn Hush Puppies: Prepare recipe as directed, reducing buttermilk to 3/4 cup and stirring 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked shrimp (about 3/4 lb. peeled) and 1 (8 1/4-oz.) can cream-style corn into batter in Step 1.